Pretty much everybody has heard the term ‘social housing’ used, however many people don’t really know what it entails, what it takes to qualify for social housing, and what your options are if you’re rejected for social housing. Social housing isn’t as black and white as simply receiving a house from the council, there are different factors and options to consider – however the first step to applying is heading to your local council website and filling in the application form.
Qualifying for Social Housing
Before you can qualify for social housing there is criteria which must be hit. This includes relating to one of the following:
- Being disabled or having special needs
- Being elderly
- Being a single parent
- Having a large family with dependent children
- Being a migrant, refugee or asylum seeker
- Being unemployed
On top of meeting these guidelines, you must also be able to prove that you do not have access to alternate housing. Alternate housing means if any member of the household has another property in which they could reasonably live. This does not include if the house is lived in by somebody formally married or previously in a civil partnership with the person seeking social housing. In these cases, a deed of separation is sufficient to make them exempt from living together.
If a person seeking social housing does have access to another home, however this property is unfit for human habitation or would be considered ‘overcrowded’ if they moved in, then this will not affect their eligibility. As well as this, if a person has specific needs which cannot be met by the property, then again they would not be expected to live there.
This being said, if the reason that the property would be overcrowded is because it is being privately rented out, then you would be expected to end the tenancy and move in yourself.
Differences Between Being Housed by the Council or Being Housed by a Housing Association
Unlike council housing, properties provided by housing associations have a few differences. In council housing you will be offered a ‘secured tenancy’. This means that, as long as you comply with the regulations of your tenancy agreement, you can live in that home for the rest of your life.
Similarly, housing associations tend to offer ‘assured tenancy.’ This is still an arrangement which allows a person to live indefinitely in a home; with them only being evicted via court order and for good reason i.e. not paying rent. However, wherein secured tenancy costs tend to be a bit lower, assured can be a slightly higher (but still should be lower than private rent) and a person on an assured tenancy must get written permission before taking in a lodger, while those on secured automatically have this right.
Another difference between homes provided by the council and housing associations is the ‘right to buy.’ Once a tenant has been living in a council house for two or more years, they may be permitted to buy the home at half the marketplace value; whereas somebody living in a housing association property is not often offered this.
Regardless of whether you live in a council or housing association provided house, if you are on one of these tenancies then this should be transferable in the event of your death; and in both cases only one secession tends to be granted.
Differences Between Affordable Housing and Social Housing
If you don’t qualify for social housing, you may still be eligible for affordable housing. This option is open to a larger range of incomes and circumstances, meaning that even if you aren’t entitled to social housing, you might be able to apply for affordable housing.
Managed a little differently, moving into this type of house works similarly to private renting. A manager will advertise a property and people will submit an application – as they would for a private property – with people sometimes being kept on waiting lists should there be a shortage of properties.
Another difference between social and affordable housing is transference. Those living in social housing are permitted to house swap with another socially housed tenant, but this is generally not the case with affordable housing. Unlike social housing, other household members of this kind cannot apply to succeed a tenancy.
The Importance of Structural Warranty
Structural Warranty is a 10-Year policy for the structure of a new home once completed, and with around 200,000 homes being built each year, as a developer it has never been more important to ensure that your investment has the right protection. Many providers such as Build-Zone (www.build-zone.com) can provide a 10-Year Structural Warranty policy upon the completion for all New Build properties, whether social or not. Having the correct cover means you needn’t worry about issues such as cracked walls or defects in the build as these costs will be covered.
To find out more information on Structural Warranty and its importance visit Build-Zone (www.build-zone.com)