Housing allocation - general information

The Housing Selection Scheme applies to accommodation owned by social housing landlords taking part in the scheme. The scheme doesn't include temporary accommodation let by social housing landlords.

How the Housing Selection Scheme works

If you apply for housing through the scheme, you will get:

  • a telephone interview or visit to assess your housing need
  • registered on a common waiting list
  • allocated property according to the scheme's rules

People eligible for social housing

To apply, you must be eligible. You should be 18 years old on the date you apply. In certain circumstances, you may still be eligible if you are at least 16 years old.

Contact the Housing Executive to ask about eligibility for the scheme. They will assess eligibility for all applicants.  There are different rules for those from within the European Economic Area (EEA) and those from a country outside the EEA.

The Housing Execuitve will consider if:

  • you are a person from abroad who isn't entitled to housing help
  • you or a member of your household has been guilty of unacceptable behaviour

How homes are allocated

Usually, each property is offered to the relevant applicant with the highest points. Where points are equal, the date on which the application is received will decide the order in which applicants are offered accommodation.

In some areas there are flats where the scheme doesn't allocate housing to tenants under 35 years old. This decision is made under the Housing Selection Scheme's rules.

You can get more information from the Housing Executive or housing associations.

Offers of accommodation 

You are entitled to three reasonable offers of housing. If you refuse three reasonable offers, you might not receive any further offers for one year.

In some circumstances, your points might be reduced. 

Disqualifications

Landlords may disqualify certain applicants from being housed. This can happen if the applicant has:

  • past rent arrears
  • has been involved in serious anti-social behaviour
  • has caused substantial damage to property
  • abandoned a previous tenancy
  • illegally occupied a property or assisted in the illegal occupation of a property
  • been guilty of violent behaviour
  • made false statements or withheld information in order to obtain a social housing property

Your responsibilities

You are responsible for giving accurate information on your application form and during your assessment visit. When there is a change in your circumstances, you must tell the landlord dealing with your application. If you are allocated a home based on false or incorrect information, your tenancy may be terminated.

You will be asked in writing each year whether you still need accommodation. If you don’t reply, you may be removed from the waiting list.

If you deliberately worsen your circumstances to gain a higher ranking on the waiting list, the scheme can withhold the additional points you gained for two years.

Housing information in other languages

To read about the housing rights of EEA nationals in Northern Ireland, go to:

You can learn more about renting privately, homelessness, sharing a home, paying for your accommodation and other issues that affect migrant workers:

More useful links

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