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Housing associations


Housing associations, sometimes called "voluntary housing associations" or "voluntary housing", are independent non-profit making organisations that provide rented housing for people who cannot afford to buy their own homes or special groups, such as older people or homeless people.

Voluntary housing associations are usually formed to relieve a local housing need. Many of these voluntary associations are established by existing caring/voluntary associations that provide services to special needs groups such as older people or people with disabilities. A marked feature of the voluntary housing sector is that 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.


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 in Ireland here.

Where to apply

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

Tel:+353 1 661 8334
Fax:+353 1 661 0320

Page updated: 17 February 2009



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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.