Finding a suitable place to live can be difficult and expensive. If you're struggling to find a house or flat through a private landlord that meets your needs within your available budget, you may want to think about applying for a housing association property.
Housing association are privately-owned, not-for-profit organisations that aim to provide lower-cost social housing. They are independent but they are regulated by the government. They're also sometimes known as registered social landlords or private registered providers of social housing.
Housing associations provide a wide range of housing. Some only own and manage a few properties, while larger ones might own whole estates. Housing associations offer similar types of housing as local councils but some specialise in particular types of housing - for example family homes, sheltered accommodation for older people, and accessible homes for people with disabilities.
Applying for a housing association home
Most housing association properties are secured by applying for accommodation from your local council, which may then refer you to a housing association. Your council's housing department will consider available housing association properties when offering you suitable accommodation.
Some of the housing association properties may be in other parts of London but, if you can be flexible about where you live, may be more suitable to your needs than properties available in your current area. Your local council will provide information on how they work with housing associations.
Some housing associations accept direct applications. You can search and contact local ones directly to find out what is available.
Affinity Sutton has several rental schemes available.
L&Q has properties for rental.
Hanover Housing Association has affordable rental properties for the over 55s.
Housing cooperatives are groups of people who live in and collectively manage their accommodation. This involves taking responsibility for arranging repairs, making decisions about rent and who joins or leaves the co-op. Living in a housing co-operative can be a good way to get affordable housing and may give you more control over where you live. It is usually most suitable for single people.
The Confederation of Co-operative Housing has details of service agencies that hold central waiting lists from which they send people to the co-ops that they service.
Swapping your housing association home
Housing Moves is the Mayor of London's housing mobility scheme that allows tenants of London boroughs or housing associations to move outside their existing borough to a different part of London. It is run by the Greater London Authority and the majority of London boroughs and housing associations participate.
If you want move to another area, HomeSwapper may be able to assist you to find someone in that area who wants to swap with you.
The Seaside and Country Homes scheme is run by central government and provides bungalows and flats for council or housing association tenants over the age of 60 who want to move out of the city to a seaside or country location.
Other information and advice
Gov.uk has useful information about housing associations, what you can expect when you apply and your rights as a housing association tenant.
Shelter has information on housing associations and how to apply.