Our History

Housing Executive 50th anniversary

2021 marked 50 years since the creation of the Housing Executive.

We have produced a timeline showing some of the key events in 1971 that contributed to our formation.


Our History

For many, mentioning the 1960’s invokes images of Flower Power, the Beatles and a man walking on the Moon.


A turbulent beginning

But in Northern Ireland, it was a decade marked by huge political turbulence.

A key demand of the Civil Rights Association was improvement in the provision of housing.

Protestors took to the streets to air long-held grievances about poor housing conditions and housing administration.

In mid-1969, violence exploded in Derry-Londonderry and in Belfast, whole streets of houses were burned to the ground.

Almost 2,000 families were displaced and hundreds of homes were destroyed in the biggest forced movement of people that Europe had seen since World War Two.

Interfaces and peace walls emerged where none had been before. Northern Ireland was divided like never before.

In February 1971, the Housing Executive Act became law and by October 1972, we had assumed all local housing functions, removing responsibility from over 60 local councils


A lasting legacy

We were charged with addressing long-standing concerns about housing and we soon set to work. 

A new Housing Allocations System for social housing was set in place, based solely - on - need and with a points system to ensure fairness and equality.

Targets included building new homes, improving existing housing estates, undertaking research and providing advice and information to tenants.

In 1974, the first house conditions survey painted a bleak picture, with 20% of local homes unfit for habitation, rising to 25% in the city of Belfast.

As the Troubles continued, the Housing Executive was not immune to violence, with staff and offices occasionally attacked as law and order crumbled.

Despite the difficulties, a new build programme soon got underway and by 1996, 80,000 homes had been built across Northern Ireland.

Quality family homes would be the mark of this era - a stark contrast to the high and medium rise housing of the 1960’s, which had caused deep dissatisfaction.

Housing that was unfit for habitation would soon be fully renovated, or demolished.

Renovation grants were also extended to the private sector and by 2016 housing unfitness levels had tumbled to an all-time low.

What we do today

We continue to care for around 85,000 homes across Northern Ireland and we work with partners in local government, councils and housing associations to deliver new-build accommodation of excellent, modern standard.

We assist with housing adaptations for those living with a disability and fund community impact projects across Northern Ireland to improve local cohesion and foster vibrant communities.

In 2019/20, we allocated 6,654 homes and over £103m pounds was spent on more than 320,000 repairs.

Our latest tenants’ survey showed an overall satisfaction rate of 88%, with 92% of tenants saying that their rent provides value for money.

We have over 500 community groups working in partnership with us through the Housing Community Network.

We have also delivered social enterprise grant funding, to help build grassroots businesses - increasing employment at the heart of our communities and helping our tenants pay their rents.

Our mission and values

We work with our partner organisations to ensure that everyone has access to a good affordable home in a safe and healthy community.

We are committed to making a difference through fairness, passion and expertise.

It was in this spirit that the Housing Executive began and these principles will guide us forward into the future.

Our Performance