You'll probably wait a long time for an offer if your points are low. There are a couple of things you can try to speed up the process. You could change your areas of choice to an area with less demand or you could look at the properties available on the Housing Executive's Choice Based Lettings scheme.
Offers from Housing Associations
All registered housing associations in Northern Ireland use the same accommodation waiting list as the Housing Executive. Some housing associations provide housing for specific groups of people, such as older people or young families so you may not fit the profile. Have a look around your areas of choice to see if there are any housing associations providing accommodation or building new accommodation.
The Housing Executive’s Social Housing Development Programme shows where new social housing developments are scheduled to be built. The Unmet Need tool will help you see which areas of Northern Ireland have the largest number of housing applicants for the amount of properties. These tools are meant to help housing associations choose areas where housing is needed but they can also help applicants when they’re choosing what areas they’d like to live in.
Check the PropertyNews website to see if there are any housing association houses or flats listed. Clanmil Housing Association and Helm Housing often advertise their properties on this website. Check the property details as some of these may be for specific user groups, like over 60s.
Choice Based Lettings pilot
In January 2014, the Housing Executive started advertising some of its properties on a public website. These properties are often in areas where there isn't as much demand and can be a quick way of getting a social tenancy if you don't have a lot of points. The system is known as Choice Based Lettings. It's a popular system in other parts of the UK.
The point of Choice Based Lettings (CBL) is to reduce the length of time that a property is empty. CBL properties are advertised online. If you're interested in living in one of the properties you can contact the local office mentioned on the property advert to register your interest. Once the deadline for expressions of interest passes the Housing Executive will look at the files of all the people interested in the property. The person who has the most points will be offered the property.
If you're on the waiting list but you aren't entitled to a lot of points, keep an eye on the Housing Executive's properties on PropertyNews. New properties will be added each week between Wednesday and Friday.
Applying for a CBL property
It doesn't matter which areas of choice you've picked. You can apply for any CBL property advertised online. The property will only be offered to you if
- you have the most points out of all the people who were interested in the property and
- the property is suitable for your needs and is not too large for your needs.
You can register your interest in a property online or by contacting the Housing Executive office mentioned in the property advertisement. Remember to give the Housing Executive
- your name, address and contact number
- the address of the property you are interested in
- your Housing Application reference number, which is available at the top of letters from the Housing Executive and
- your date of birth or National Insurance Number.
All the adverts on PropertyNews say that “Fees may apply”. This is a standard disclaimer applied to all rental advertisements on the website in response to the Committee for Advertising Practice ruling on letting fees. The Housing Executive will not be charging administration or other fees.
The Housing Executive will only contact you about the property if you were the highest ranked person who applied for the property. You won't be contacted if someone else has been offered the property.
Your place on the waiting list
People often want to know what number they are on the waiting list but the list doesn’t really work like that. The waiting lists changes every day as new people are added and other people are taken off it. If you want to find out how likely it is that you will get an offer soon, you can phone the Housing Executive or a housing association that offers properties in your area of choice and ask how many points people currently need for the type of accommodation you require.