How to get a housing association home

Find out about renting or buying a home from a housing association.

How to apply for a home to rent

Housing association homes are in high demand and it can be difficult to get one.

In most areas you must apply to the council's housing register to be considered for a housing association tenancy.

Some housing associations also keep their own waiting lists.

Ask your council for a list of any housing associations with an open waiting list:

Find your council's contact details on GOV.UK

Types of tenancy 

A housing association tenancy could be a:

The type of tenancy you have affects your rights. You have better protection from eviction if you have a fully assured tenancy. 

Rent levels

Rents levels are usually set at either:  

  • social rent - around 50% of local market rent
  • affordable rent - around 80% of local market rent

You may be able to claim universal credit or housing benefit to help with rent.

Buying your housing association home

You may be able to buy your rented home at a discount under the Right to Acquire.

Most housing association tenants don't qualify for the bigger discounts offered under the Right to Buy scheme but there might be exceptions if you have a:

The Right to Buy pilot for housing association tenants is closed to new applicants.  

Buying a shared ownership home

You may be able to part-rent, part-buy your home through a shared ownership scheme. 

You buy a share of your home - between 25% and 75% - and pay rent to a housing association for the share you don't own.

You don't have to be a housing association tenant to qualify.

Find out about your rights and responsibilities if you buy a shared ownership home

Still need help?

If you need more advice on renting from a housing association:

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone

If you need more advice on buying your housing association home:

Contact a Right to Buy agent online or by phone

To find about shared ownership schemes in your area:

Search for your local Help to Buy agent


Last updated 25 Sep 2018 | © Shelter

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help

Get help

Was this advice helpful?

Email a link to this article

Thank you - your message has been sent.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.

Was this advice helpful?

Thank you - your feedback has been submitted to the team.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.