Housing Associations for Single People and One Person Households

How they work

Housing associations are separate organisations from councils, but often work closely with them to offer, and in some cases build, flats and houses for as many local people in need of housing, as they can. This includes those people who may have originally applied for housing through their local council, who (if they are eligible) are then referred onto their local Housing Associations.

Rents in housing association or housing cooperative properties are lower than those set for private accommodation, but normally higher than rents in council homes. As a tenant, you can’t control the amount of rent charged but you may be able to claim housing benefit to help with the cost.

Many Housing Associations own and manage properties transferred to them by a local council. They vary in size – some own and manage just a few properties and some own thousands of properties.

Housing Associations are almost always run on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis and currently, have to abide by a set of government set rules in how they run their association. This means that any money left over after collecting rent and other charges from tenants has to be used to:

  • repair and maintain properties
  • buy or build new properties – Housing Associations may also get financial help from the government to build new homes. (Recent news that Housing associations are to be reclassified as private bodies and their £70bn debt removed from the government’s balance sheet is said to mean that they will now be able to build more affordable homes).

Are single people eligible for a Housing Association home?

Most housing associations provide a range of housing suited to single people, couples and families. Eligibility criteria and waiting lists vary according with each housing association, so you’ll need to check with each housing association in your area to find out what your chances are, if you’re eligible – and how to get on their lists.

Housing Associations were set up with the aim of making accommodation available and affordable for all. In the recent past they’ve been perceived as an option for those in the lower-income brackets or in particular need. However, as housing becomes more expensive, especially in larger cities, Housing Association rentals may increasingly provide the best opportunity for younger people, single or otherwise to find a home.

Applying to a housing association

There are two ways to apply for a Housing Association home; directly with the Housing Association or through your local council who can provide you with a list of Housing Associations in your area.

The process for getting a housing association home is similar to the process you need to go through to apply for a council home. When you apply, your priority over other housing applicants will be assessed. Some housing associations have an open register, so you can apply directly to them for a home.

Other housing associations will only take tenants who have been nominated by their local council. This means you must first apply to your local council for housing.  So it seems like how you apply depends on where you live, not straightforward but not difficult.

Use the four regional federations below to find your local Housing Associations now:

ENGLAND – National Housing Association

NORTHERN IRELAND – Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations

SCOTLAND – Scottish Federation of Housing Associations

WALES – Community Housing Cymru