We’re Here to Help

Finding the right home and making sure the right support is available can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t always have to be.

At Choice, our personal and professional services are underpinned by decades of experience in helping people find the right fit for them. We know everyone has different needs and that these may change as time moves on, that’s why we get to know our customers and potential customers as individuals rather than case files. We want to help you get it right.

Our Housing Categories

Sheltered Housing

Sheltered housing enables older people to live independently and privately in their own dwelling within a safe, friendly and supportive environment. There are many different types of sheltered housing schemes. Some will have a scheme manager or scheme co-ordinator, who lives onsite or offsite.  All of our sheltered dwellings are linked to a 24 hour emergency call centre and tenants can have a pendant alarm if required. Our aim is to ensure tenants feel safe, enjoy their privacy and independence, and have the opportunity to participate in social activities if they wish.

The accommodation is self-contained, but there are often communal areas, such as the lounge, laundry room and garden.  The majority of our sheltered schemes run social events for tenants.

General Needs Housing

The term 'General Needs Housing' is used to describe housing for rent that is suitable for anyone over the age of 16 who does not require any help or support, including single people, couples or families.  The accommodation is normally provided in self – contained bungalow, house, flat or maisonette form.

Our general needs housing and sheltered accommodation is allocated through the Housing Executive’s Common Selection Scheme.  

Shared Housing 

We provide a limited number of shared housing properties in Belfast City.  Shared housing is defined as an arrangement in which two or more unrelated people share a house or an apartment.  They share common areas such as kitchen, dining and living facilities while maintaining a private bedroom.  To apply for a room in a shared dwelling, please contact Choice Housing Ireland Ltd directly.

To apply for Social Rented Accommodation you will need to be assessed under Northern Ireland Housing Executive Selection Scheme and pointed on the common waiting list. You will usually be able to apply for housing if you are over 18 and have a local connection to Northern Ireland.

You can also apply by completing a Housing/Transfer Application form. Or alternatively you can pick up a form at any Housing Executive district office or Choice office.  The form contains guidance notes to help you complete your application but if you have any enquiries about the process you can contact the Housing Executive or Choice on 0300 111 2211.

The Selection Scheme

The selection scheme is a points-based system that the Housing Executive uses when assessing personal circumstances and housing needs of applicants applying for social rented housing. If you apply to the Housing Executive, you will be assessed under the selection scheme and awarded points for your various housing needs. You will be ranked accordingly on the common waiting list.

Choice allocation’s team have access to the Housing Executive system and will target vacancies to those applicants registered on the waiting list. Applicants will then be informed in writing of any vacancies. The decision to allocate accommodation is based on points and/or any other criteria specified by the Housing Executive in consideration of the application.

It is important to know that an applicant’s position on the list is subject to change and any changes of circumstances must be reported to the Housing Executive, as that may have an impact on your application.

The Next Step in Applying for Rented Social Housing

If you are living in Social Rented Housing your current landlord will arrange for a housing officer to assess your current circumstances. The housing officer will then determine your housing needs and place you on the common waiting list.

When the application has been received the Housing Executive or your landlord will arrange an appointment to visit you in order to complete your application for social rented accommodation.

Applying from Outside Northern Ireland

If applying for Social Rented Housing outside Northern Ireland your eligibility for housing in Northern Ireland and your housing needs will be assessed in the same way as any other applicant.

However, as the Northern Ireland Housing Executive will not be able to carry out a visit, you will be asked to complete a Housing/Transfer and Self Assessment form.

If you are Homeless

If you consider yourself to be homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless you should contact the Housing Executive as soon as possible on 03448 920 900.  They will determine your eligibility for social housing or homelessness assistance.   

Requesting a Transfer

If you are currently living in a Housing Executive or housing association home in Northern Ireland and would like to transfer to another social rented home you will need to complete a Housing/Transfer Application form and return it to your landlord’s office. A Housing Officer will subsequently visit you on behalf of your landlord to carry out a needs assessment and determine if you are eligible for a transfer. If you are eligible, your points will be assessed and you will be placed on the Housing Executive waiting list for your areas and landlords of choice.

Mutual Exchange

A mutual exchange is another way you can move to another social housing property and can be a quicker way of moving rather than waiting for a transfer offer from a social housing landlord, especially if your transfer application is assessed as a low priority. Under this scheme, you can exchange your home with a tenant of another social housing landlord, provided you are eligible to do so. 

If you find a suitable swap, both you and the tenant you wish to exchange with need to write to your landlords and ask for permission to do so.  Both homes will then be inspected by a housing officer before approval can be granted.  The landlords' decision will be forwarded in writing to both parties.

You can find potential home swaps by registering with Homeswapper at www.homeswapper.co.uk.  HomeSwapper is a mutual exchange system that helps tenants to find a mutual exchange from a wide choice of properties advertised by other tenants looking to exchange.  This service is free to our tenants.

You can also find potential swaps by word of mouth, advertising in local newspapers, postcards in shop windows and online classifieds and community websites.