The Housing Selection Scheme

This is a set of rules that applies to local social housing landlords. These rules decide if an applicant is eligible for social housing.

The Department for Communities approved the scheme rules. The scheme determines how we offer our homes to applicants. It gives applicants a choice in where they want to live.

Aims of the Scheme

The Housing Executive and housing associations provide social rented housing in Northern Ireland. Together we are known as social landlords. You may apply for social housing and we may place you on the common waiting list. If you are placed waiting list we call you an "applicant".

When you apply for social housing we aim to complete the following steps:

  1. assess your application
  2. place you on the social housing waiting list
  3. provide you with a home

We do this according to the rules of the Housing Selection Scheme.


We need to ensure that you are eligible for social rented housing. Usually you must be 18 years old when you apply for social housing. There are certain circumstances where you may be eligible if you are at least 16 years old.

There may be circumstances where you are not eligible for social housing.

If you are a person from abroad or a British or Irish national returning to live in the UK we will also look at your circumstances.


As a social housing landlord we may refuse to offer you a home for a limited period of time in some circumstances. Where we refuse to house applicants we call these 'disqualifications'.

We may do this in cases where you have:

  • rent arrears

  • abandoned a previous tenancy

  • lived illegally in one of our homes

  • been involved in anti-social behaviour

Further information

You can download and read our booklet summarising the rules of the scheme below.

You can also download the full rules of the Housing Selection Scheme Link below.

Areas of choice