How to apply for a home

The Housing Executive provides social rented housing in Northern Ireland. Housing associations also offer this type of housing. Together we are called social landlords. Each landlord is independent and can offer different services.

All social landlords aim to provide:

  • good quality housing
  • affordable housing
  • housing for people in need

Applying for a home

We need to make sure that you are eligible for social rented housing. We try to make the application process as straightforward as possible. You can also apply for sheltered housing or specialist accommodation. These may offer extra support for their tenants.

All social landlords operate a Common Waiting List. They use this to allocate their housing to the highest pointed applicant on the Waiting List.

The Housing Executive carries out all assessments for new applicants. We also complete assessments for transfers if you are a Housing Executive tenant. Most Housing Associations carry out their own transfer requests.

To apply for social housing you can:

We are currently delivering most of our services remotely.  Please contact us by phone in the first instance.

Do you have a disability?

You can read more about finding a home in our leaflet ‘Advice for People with Disabilities on Finding a Home'.

 Are you a young person?

Are you deaf, hearing or speech impaired?

Next Generation Text is available for use on standard telephone systems

Is English not your first language?

  • click the 'Translate' link at the top of any page to view the page in another language including:
    • Polish, Lithuanian, Czech and Chinese are all available
  • language support is also available if you do not speak English as a first language. 
  • the telephone interpretation service ‘The Big Word’ is available throughout our local offices.
  • we can also provide face-to-face interpreters if required

What happens next?

When you apply for social housing we will arrange to carry an assessment of your housing needs. Where possible we do this in a way that best suits you.

We can do this:

  • in your local office
  • during a home visit or
  • over the telephone

We may consider a home visit better to make sure that we know all your housing needs.

We use the Housing Selection Scheme to assess your housing need. We will then place you on the social housing waiting list. We will also talk to you about your areas of choice. If you prefer a housing association, you may receive a follow-up visit from them.

Applying for a transfer

You may be a social tenant in Northern Ireland and want to move to another social rented home here.

  • If you are a housing association tenant, please contact your housing association to discuss the transfer process.

  • For Housing Executive tenants, the quickest and easiest way to request a transfer is through the My Housing Executive portal. Once we receive your request, we will arrange a suitable time to carry out an assessment.

In normal circumstances this will involve visiting you in your home but depending on COVID-19 restrictions and the nature of your case, the assessment may take place over the phone or in one of our offices.

My Housing Executive

You can register for a portal account.

If you are unable to use the portal to register your transfer request you can call us on

If you require emergency temporary accommodation please call:

We will visit you and carry out a needs assessment to see if you are eligible for a transfer.

If you are eligible for a transfer, we will place you on the waiting list for your areas and landlords of choice.

Your responsibilities

  • You must provide accurate information during your assessment.

  • You must tell us if there are any changes in your circumstances. This includes changes while you are waiting for offers of housing. These changes may affect your application.

  • You must not tell us false or incorrect information when you apply for a home. We may end your tenancy if we have allocated property based on such information.

  • We will write to you each year to confirm that you still need accommodation. If you don’t reply, we may remove you from the waiting list.

  • You must not make your circumstances worse to move higher up the waiting list. If you do this, we may withhold any additional points entitlement for up to two years.

As a social housing tenant it is possible to arrange a swap with another social housing tenant. We call this a "mutual exchange". You may also know this as a “swap”.  

For more information on transfers and exchanges, please read our section about:

Applying from outside Northern Ireland