Social housing is housing owned by either the Northern Ireland Housing Executive or housing associations. The Housing Selection Scheme is the list of rules that the Housing Executive and housing associations use when deciding who they should offer this housing to.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Secure Housing Executive (NIHE) and housing association tenants can apply for a transfer to a different NIHE or housing association property. You can ask for a transfer anywhere in the UK and tenants from England, Scotland & Wales can transfer to properties in Northern Ireland.
If you pass all four homelessness tests, or hurdles, you will be awarded Full Duty Applicant status. Full Duty Applicants are entitled to offers of permanent accommodation from the Housing Executive and housing associations.
The amount of time you'll have to wait for an offer of housing will normally depend on where you want to live and how many points you have. Points can be confusing. This information should help you understand how the system works.
Some people won't ever get enough points for an offer. If you're in this position you'll need to think about other housing options, like renting privately or making your current home more suitable.
You can apply for a home with the Housing Executive or a housing association by filling in an application form. There are lots of people on the waiting list and they are ranked according to how badly they need to be rehoused. Your ranking depends on how many points you are awarded using the criteria set out in the Common Housing Selection Scheme.