What is social housing?
Social housing gives people a home. It’s cheaper to rent than privately rented housing and usually provides a long-term tenancy, giving renters the chance to put down roots. Social landlords tend to be councils or housing associations.
But, right now, nowhere near enough social homes being built. Across England over 1.2 million households are on the social housing waiting list.
More social homes must be built and we’re demanding the government takes action. Make your voice heard - sign our petition.
Social rented housing is affordable
Social rents are pegged to local incomes to keep rents more affordable. Changes to social rents – whether up or down – are controlled by central government.
Social rents are lower than so-called ‘affordable’ rents which are set at up to 80% of the market rate.
Social housing is allocated on basis of need
Those with the most serious need are legally required to be given ‘reasonable preference’ in the allocation of social housing by councils.
Beyond this, councils can decide who qualifies to go on their social housing waiting lists and the level of priority that they are entitled to on the list.
But the chronic shortage of social housing means it’s severely rationed. We believe many more people should be able to access social housing.
Social rented housing means no short-term contracts
Renting a social home means people have a settled home. Instead of six or twelve-month tenancies you have the right to stay for years and make a house a home, with much greater protections from eviction.
Social housing is owned and managed by social landlords
Social landlords are generally councils or housing associations.
Housing associations are independent from councils, with all their surpluses going to managing and maintaining existing homes, providing associated services and, in some cases, building new homes. They are proactively economically regulated by the Regulator of Social Housing.
Council housing is democratically controlled by the elected local authority, although it may be managed by an Arms-Length Management Organisation or Tenant Management Organisation on the council’s behalf.
All social housing is required to meet consumer standards set out by the Regulator of Social Housing.
It’s possible for commercial organisations to build and manage social housing, although this is not yet common practice.
Applying for social housing
It can be difficult to understand how to apply for social housing. We have some advice pages which hope to make this easier for you.