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New Arrivals

Housing associations and new migrants

This page is for new arrivals. If you are a housing adviser please click here for information more relevant to you.

Housing associations receive government funding to develop homes for people in need. In England they are regulated by a government body called the Regulator of Social Housing which sets the standards they must meet and offers guidance on good practice.

For example, its Tenancy Standard requires housing associations to:

  • '...let their homes in a fair, transparent and efficient way. They shall take into account the housing needs and aspirations of tenants and potential tenants.'
  • There should be clear application, decision-making and appeals processes.'

The Standard also specifically expects associations to assist all potential tenants:

'...including those with support needs, those who do not speak English as a first language and others who have difficulties with written English.'

In Wales, the Regulatory Framework for Housing Associations Registered in Wales is not as detailed in England's but associations can be expected to follow similar good practice and can be challenged if they don't.

Housing associations are independent bodies. If they choose, they can offer all of their vacancies to local authorities, but they can also decide to allocate some of their houses or flats themselves. If they do so, they must do so fairly and without discriminating and it is good practice to ensure that the needs of new migrants are met on fair terms.

Local councils must only offer new tenancies to people legally defined as eligible, and the same applies where they arrange for someone to be housed by a housing association. If an association offers a tenancy to someone from its own waiting list, then in England they must do the same 'right to rent' checks as are done by private landlords. 

Although housing associations in England have to make 'right to rent' checks, they must be very careful to treat people fairly or they may be in breach of discrimination law (see the page on challenging discrimination). Such discrimination would also put the housing association in breach of the regulatory standards and almost certainly be in conflict with their own equal opportunities and diversity policies.

And, as important, this sort of discrimination will stop housing associations doing what they are meant to do: housing people in need.

See the page on housing associations and local authorities - the legal differences in relation to housing of new migrants for more details on how associations differ from local authorities.

Chartered Institute of Housing

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Chartered Institute of Housing