Apply for Sheltered Housing

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This section will prepare you for the steps to access sheltered housing accommodation.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive and each Housing Association may have individual allocation policies although the application form is the same.

As demand for accommodation exceeds supply, you may have to be flexible and wait some time. Nevertheless, if you believe that your application has been handled badly, you can make a complaint.

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Allocation Policy

Allocation policies for sheltered housing differ with different providers.If you do not qualify with one housing association, you may be able to apply to others which have different allocation policies.

Housing Association Shared-Ownership Schemes

Owner-occupiers, or those with savings over a certain limit, are unlikely to be offered accommodation with a Housing Association. However, some housing associations operate shared-ownership schemes if you have capital but cannot afford sheltered housing at the market price.

If you wish to buy sheltered housing accommodation but do not have the income or funds to secure the full amount, you may be able to purchase a property through co-ownership. This enables you to live in the home that you want at a low cost.
If you are eligible for the scheme (you will usually need to have earnings or pension above the limit for claiming benefits), you could share ownership of the property with a co-ownership housing association.
Details of Housing Associations running co-ownership schemes can be obtained from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) or from Elderly Accommodation Counsel.
Visit Co-Ownership Housing for further information about such schemes.


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Application Form

You can complete a single application form for consideration by all social landlords (Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Housing Associations) who have sheltered housing accommodation in the area in which you wish to live.

An application form can be obtained from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) website or from your local Housing Association Office. Otherwise, you can apply by phoning the NIHE on 08448 920 900.

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Making a Complaint

If you are unhappy with the way your application for sheltered housing has been handled by a Housing Association, you can make a formal complaint through their own internal complaints procedure.

If you are not happy after going through this procedure, you may ask about making an appeal to the committee which manages the association.

For complaints about public and social housing in Northern Ireland, contact the Northern Ireland Ombudsman or telephone 0800 34 34 24.

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Waiting Times

Demand for sheltered and extra-care housing is often greater than supply, so you should expect to wait for housing to become available.

Ask the Housing Association roughly how long you are likely to have to wait for accommodation in its scheme. Waiting lists can vary from a few months to a few years.

The most desirable schemes usually have the longest waiting lists, so prepare to be flexible.


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