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Applying to your local authority for social housing support

How do I apply

Local authorities are the main providers of social housing for people who have a housing need.

To apply for social housing support, including support from an approved housing body, you should firstly contact your relevant local authority who can provide you with an application form for completion.

In general, you must already be living in the area covered by that local authority or have a local connection with the area through previous residence, current employment, medical care, education or relations.

In general when completing the application form, you can choose up to three areas (“Areas of Choice”) within the local authority area you want to live.


Completed applications for social housing support are assessed by your local authority in accordance with the current criteria based on the following:

  • An income threshold, i.e. your income must not exceed certain limits - these limits will depend on the housing authority and the size of the household
  • Having a long term right to reside in Ireland
  • Whether you have alternative accommodation available to you which could meet your housing need
  • Whether you have rent arrears from a previous tenancy and the arrangements in place to repay these arrears

Your assessment will also take account of the size of your household, the type and condition of your current accommodation and any special circumstances such as disability, age and medical circumstances.

The Housing Acts of 2009 and 2014 and regulations lay down the legal rules in how local authorities assess individual households for support.

If you are a Non-Irish national seeking support you must also meet the provisions of Circular 41/2012.

Allocation of Social Housing Support

If you are qualified you will be  placed on the authority’s housing waiting list (this  list is also known as the ‘record of qualified households’)

You will be allocated a suitable tenancy when it becomes available.

Each local authority draws up its own rules for deciding the order of priority on the waiting list (an “Allocation Scheme”).

You can get a copy of this scheme from your local authority.

Differential Rents

Where you are allocated a tenancy you will be charged a rent based on your income.

This is calculated by the housing authority in accordance with its Differential Rent Scheme.

It is based on your ability to pay, i.e. the higher your income the higher the rent.

Refusing an Offer of Accommodation

You may refuse a reasonable offer of accommodation in any 12-month period without affecting your place on the waiting list.

If you refuse two reasonable offers in a 12-month period, you will however, be suspended on the waiting list for 12 months, during which time you will not accumulate any time on the list.

Waiting Times

While you have some choice in specifying the areas where you would like to live, you should remember that if you choose a popular area, you may wait longer for an offer of housing than if you choose a less popular area.

Details on the number of households on the waiting lists of each housing authority, including details on the length of time on waiting lists, can be found in the most recent Summary of Social Housing Assessments report.

Summary of Social Housing Assessments

The summary is a count of all the qualified households on waiting lists across the country as at a particular date.

The most recent Summary of Social Housing Assessments was undertaken at 21st September 2016

From 2016, summaries are now carried out on an annual basis. Work is progressing on the 2017 summary which is expected to be published in the Autumn.

The Summary process involves housing authorities contacting the households on its waiting list to confirm that those households are still eligible for, and in need of, support.

It is therefore important for households on waiting lists to notify their housing authorities of changes in their circumstances and to respond to any requests for information for authorities when a summary is being carried out.


If you have any queries in relation to applying for social housing support you should contact your local authority.