What are housing associations?

Housing association are independent, not-for-profit social businesses that provide homes and support services for their tenants.

Applying for a rented housing association place

To rent a housing association home, you normally have to apply to go on a waiting list. In most areas, there is a central system for deciding who gets all council and housing association homes, but some housing associations also keep their own separate waiting lists.

To contact housing associations in your area and find out how to apply direct, you can:

You should also apply through your local council's central waiting list as this increases your chances of getting a place. You can get application forms and information from the housing department of your local council. Most councils have these forms on their websites.

Buying a home through a housing association

If you are already a housing association tenant, you may be able to buy the property you currently rent. This may be possible through:

  • the Right to Acquire – similar to the Right to Buy, this scheme allows some housing association tenants to purchase their rented home at a discount
  • shared ownership – UK Government-backed scheme allowing you to buy between 25 and 100% of the property you currently rent, usually on a shared ownership leasehold basis

If you want to buy a property other than the one you currently rent, or you are not already renting from a housing association, you may be able to buy a home on a shared ownership basis, or through an equity loan with the help of a housing association through a number of other home ownership schemes.

Further advice and information on housing association policies

To get more information on their policies for letting out their property, contact the relevant housing association directly.

If you are not happy with a decision made by a housing association you can make a complaint.

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