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Cleaver Fulton Rankin has a long history of acting for social housing providers in Northern Ireland. Primarily the Property team acts for social housing providers in the acquisition of sites for development. We also act for housing associations in the sale of social housing homes to eligible tenants, and on the property aspects of the mergers of housing associations including the transfer of engagements. We are an Associate Member of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations.
We are well aware of the major role which housing organisations play in our local communities. Social Housing is important in any society to address poverty and welfare issues and to help integrate societies into sustainable mixed communities.
The need for social housing reform in this jurisdiction is apparent, but whilst the Assembly is not sitting in Northern Ireland matters seem to have been put on hold. An interesting recent development has been the publication by the Chartered Institute of Housing (“CIH”) late last year of its report into social housing in Northern Ireland. One of the main findings in the “Rethinking social housing Northern Ireland” report by CIH is that there should be a mix of private and social housing, and this is something that councils can help to create through the planning system.
The report also recommends that:
(1) new affordable housing options are developed for lower income people who are paying high market rents, and
(2) perhaps more controversially, that house sales schemes, for tenants who can purchase their social housing home, are ended in order to protect the supply of social housing. Demand for social housing currently outstrips supply by around 5 to 1. There is an annual shortfall in the number of required homes being built.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Please contact our Commercial Real Estate Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.