Last edited 24 Jan 2018

Housing associations


[edit] Overview

Housing associations are independent, not-for-profit organisations that provide social housing for those in need. They are also known as ‘registered social landlords’ or ‘private registered providers of social housing’.

They provide houses for rent and sometimes offer shared-ownership schemes. They are required to be registered with Homes England and are represented by the National Housing Federation (NHF).

[edit] Management

The overall responsibility for housing associations falls either to a voluntary committee, board of management or paid non-executive individuals.

[edit] Funding

The typical activities of a housing association are funded by the income from their rented properties.

Homes England provide funding for new affordable housing and improvements to existing social housing. They also act as regulators for the housing associations throughout England, other than in London where the responsibility lies with the Greater London Authority (GLA).

NB on 16 November 2016, the Office for National Statistics reclassified housing associations as private bodies rather than public bodies. This removed £70 billion from public debt and opened the way for housing associations to increase their borrowing, reversing their classification as public bodies in 2015.

[edit] Homes for rent

Housing associations provide homes to people on low incomes or in need of extra help. They provide approximately two and a half million rented homes in England (ref. NHF, 2014). It is possible to apply for homes either:

Houses are offered to those who most suit the property, and the rates of rent are fixed by the government.

[edit] Shared ownership

Shared ownership schemes are offered by housing associations including:

[edit] Right to acquire / right to buy.

The 1996 Housing Act introduced the Right to Acquire. This is a statutory right for housing association tenants to acquire their homes at a discounted price from the open market value. The right is applied to eligible tenants living in eligible properties. A tenant can buy their home with a joint tenant or with up to 3 family members who have lived in that property for the past 12 months.

Under the Act, 800,000 housing association tenants have the ‘right to acquire’ their homes at a small discount, but in 2015, the government proposed extending the Right to Acquire scheme to a further 500,000 housing association tenants and giving them the same discount as council housing tenants under the Right to Buy scheme.

In September 2015, the NHF proposed an alternative voluntary scheme for housing associations, which communities secretary Greg Clark accepted, on the condition that the sector agree the proposals within a week of the announcement. Agreement was confirmed in David Cameron's speech to the Conservative Party conference in October 2015. See Right to buy extended to housing association tenants for more information.

[edit] Regeneration

Housing associations are key partners in regeneration schemes around England. This includes the Market Renewal Pathfinders in northern and central England. Housing associations are also involved in refurbishing and enhancing ex-council estates through stock transfer programmes.

[edit] Supported housing

Individuals’ who may require help to live independently are supported by housing associations. For example:

  • Sheltered housing for older individuals.
  • Rehabilitation for individuals with alcohol or drug problems.
  • Supported housing for people with disabilities.
  • Job and skills training alongside housing for young or homeless people.

[edit] Temporary accommodation

Temporary accommodation for individuals in need can be provided by housing associations. They may lease additional homes from private landlords in urgent cases, particularly for families.

[edit] Find out more

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.

[edit] External references