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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Social housing

You can swap your tenancy with another secure social tenant. You need to get your landlord's permission to swap, but they can only refuse in certain cases.

Because of the shortage of social housing some people will wait a very long time before they get offered a property. You could have a long wait, even if you passed the 4 homeless tests and are legally homeless.

It's important that you know and understand what your responsibilities are to the Housing Executive.

You are entitled to 3 reasonable offers of accommodation. When you get an offer you'll have an opportunity to view the property. Your offer letter should explain how much you'll have to pay for the property.

It is important for you to know

  • your responsibilities to the Housing Executive, and
  • the Housing Executive's responsibilities to you

These are explained in a leaflet on the Housing Executive's website

You're only entitled to 3 reasonable offers. If you're offered a property that you don't want you'll lose one of these offers unless you can show the Housing Executive or housing association that the offer wasn't reasonable. How you challenge the decision depends on whether you've passed the 4 homelessness tests of not.

You have to pay rent to your landlord. You may be able to get help from benefits to pay this if you are on a low income. 

You'll have to renew your application every year and if you don't do this, you'll be removed from the waiting list. It's important that you keep your details up to date. A change in your circumstances could mean you're entitled to more points. You can also lose points if your circumstances change.

Your tenancy agreement and tenant handbook should explain whether you or the Housing Executive is responsible for repairs.  Ask your local office for a copy of these documents if you can't find your copies.

The law gives you certain rights if you rent from the Housing Executive. You have more rights if you are a secure tenant than you do if you are an introductory tenant. 

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