When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Applying for social housing in Northern Ireland

To apply for a home, visit the Northern Ireland Housing Executive website

Are you homeless or living in unsuitable housing?

Tell the Housing Executive if

  • you have nowhere to stay or
  • there are serious problems in your current home.

The Housing Executive has to check if you are legally homeless if you tell them something that suggests you do not have a suitable home. You must be in Northern Ireland to get help under homelessness laws.

You use different forms to apply for housing if you do not currently live in Northern Ireland.

Who can apply for social housing in Northern Ireland?

You can usually only apply for housing if

  • you are over 18
  • you live in Northern Ireland or you have a local connection to Northern Ireland
  • your immigration status allows you to apply for housing.

If you are between 16 and 18 you can apply if:

  • you are homeless, or
  • you are leaving care, or
  • you have dependent children, or
  • you are pregnant, or
  • you are married, or
  • you need the accommodation to take up training, education or a job offer.

The local connection test for housing in Northern Ireland

You have a local connection if you

  • live or have lived in Northern Ireland,
  • are working or looking for work in Northern Ireland,
  • are moving to Northern Ireland for family support
  • are moving to Northern Ireland to study.

How does your immigration status affect your housing rights?

You can apply for housing if you

  • are a British or Irish citizen who has been living in the Republic of Ireland, the UK or the Channel Islands
  • have indefinite leave to remain in the UK
  • have refugee status.

People from EEA countries may be able to apply for housing. This will depend on

  • their status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • when they moved to the UK
  • their work history in the UK
  • whether they have family members who are eligible for housing.

Asylum seekers cannot apply to the Housing Executive for help with housing.

Applying for housing in Northern Ireland

You can

  • apply online at the Housing Executive's website
  • call the Housing Executive on 03448 920 900 to ask for a paper application form.

Northern Ireland uses a points system to rank people for housing. The Housing Executive will use the information on your form to decide how many points you get. It will appoint a housing officer for your case. Your housing officer will contact you about your application. They may ask you for extra information or evidence to help you get more points.

Keep a copy of any paperwork you send to the Housing Executive.

Waiting for an offer of housing

Your housing officer will write to you to tell you how many points you have. You will be placed on the waiting list for housing. People who have more points will be above you on the list. 

The Housing Executive and housing associations use the same waiting list. Any of them can offer you a home.

The length of time you will wait for an offer depends on

  • how many points you have,
  • the area you want to live in,
  • the type of home you need to live in.

The Housing Executive may have to offer you temporary housing while you wait for a permanent home if

  • you have nowhere else to stay, or
  • your current home is unsuitable for you.