Getting a housing association home

Housing associations provide many different types of homes. Find out about the different ways you can rent or buy them.

Social or affordable rented homes

The most common type of social housing is social rented homes, which are usually rented at about 50% of the local market rent. Affordable rented homes are also available, and these are usually rented at around 80% of the local market rent or less.

To be considered for a housing association tenancy at social or affordable rent, you usually have to be on the council’s housing register and you must meet certain eligibility criteria.

You can apply to the register online on your council’s housing services page, or by contacting the council directly to request an application form. Find out which is your local council and apply for council housing.

You may be able to apply to a council’s register even if you don’t live in that council’s local area.

Some housing associations also keep their own waiting lists. These can be found by contacting your council and asking for a list of housing associations with an open waiting list.

Shared ownership

Shared ownership is a more affordable way to buy your own home. You buy a percentage of the property, between 25% and 75%, and pay a reduced rent on the rest to a housing association.

Shared ownership homes can be purchased with a deposit of at least 5% of your share of the property and a mortgage to cover the rest. After becoming a shared owner, you can buy more shares in the property, increasing to up to 100%.

To find out more about buying a shared ownership home, find out if you are eligible or see shared ownership homes which are available in your area, visit the shared ownership website

Supported and specialist housing

Housing associations provide homes for people who need support, including older people needing support or care and disabled people who need homes with adaptations.

If you are interested in this type of housing, contact your local council, or some housing associations have open waiting lists.

Some housing associations also offer specialist housing such as homelessness shelters, hostels, domestic abuse refuges and residences for young people leaving care. You usually have to be referred by your local council or health authority for this type of supported housing. If you are homeless and in need of emergency accommodation, you should contact your local council. The housing charity Shelter also has an urgent helpline.

Market rent or sale

Housing associations also offer quality homes to rent or buy at market rates. The rent and sale of these homes help housing associations to provide social and affordable rented properties to those that need them, through a cross-subsidy model.

To find a home to rent or buy, you can visit housing association websites directly or look through property search sites. Housing associations operating in your area can be found by contacting your local council or contacting a housing association directly - see a list of all of our members.