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Housing associations


Housing associations provide rented accommodation in the form of social housing for people who cannot afford to buy their own homes, or for particular groups, such as older people or homeless people.

Some housing associations are established by existing caring/voluntary associations that provide services to special needs groups such as older people or people with disabilities. Many associations also offer non-housing services such as group meals, social activities and welfare advice.

Home-ownership co-operatives are a particular form of housing association, in which tenants share responsibility for the management and upkeep of their homes.

These various types of organisation are often called approved housing bodies.


In order to be housed by a housing association, you must be registered on the local authority housing waiting list in your area and there may also be an income or means test.

Housing association tenants have basically the same rights as local authority tenants However, housing association tenants do not have the right to buy their homes.

How to apply

The housing department of your local authority will be able to tell you if there are housing associations active in your area. Alternatively, you can search for contact information about housing associations here.

Housing associations usually house people whose names are on the local authority housing list. If you wish to be considered for accommodation provided by a housing association or other approved housing body, tick the box marked “voluntary/co-operative housing” on the application form when you are applying for social housing. Some housing associations may accept direct applications.

Where to apply

If you are on the local authority housing list your name may be passed to a housing association.

Some associations may accept applications. In this case, you apply directly to your chosen housing association. Each housing association has its own policy and qualification conditions in relation to housing applicants.

The Irish Council for Social Housing can give you general information on housing associations.

Irish Council for Social Housing

50 Merrion Square East
Dublin 2

Tel:(01) 661 8334
Fax:(01) 661 0320

Page edited: 20 May 2015



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If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.