The Housing (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2020 received Royal Assent on 28 August 2020. This piece of legislation was passed to enable the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to reverse its decision to classify housing associations as public bodies, by removing certain government controls. It is hoped that ONS will make this decision shortly. As a result of this Act, housing association tenants who are currently entitled to buy their own home, will not have the statutory right to do so, when a transitional period ends.
The House Sales Scheme which provides for a right to buy, for certain housing association tenants, will end on 28 August 2022. Housing Executive tenants continue to have the right to buy their own home. However, the Minister for Communities has indicated that she intends to consult on this, in the near future.
After the transition period ends, housing associations may choose to operate a voluntary house sales scheme. There may be grants available from the Department for Communities to provide tenants with a discount on such purchases. It will be for the Department to determine what level of discount will be available.
As is currently the case, the housing association sector will continue to provide a pathway to ownership through shared ownership models provided by Co-Ownership and through other housing associations such as the FairShare Scheme.