The Housing Executive will give you points for housing conditions in four areas: sharing, overcrowding, lack of amenities or disrepair, and time in housing need.
You can get a maximum of 40 points if you share your accommodation with someone who will not be moving with you to your new accommodation. You will not get points for sharing if you invited the person to share your home. If you are between 16 and 18, you will only get sharing points if you are sharing with a non-family member.
If you have dependent children you will get 10 points for sharing each of the following facilities:
- living room;
Dependent children are children under 16 (under 19 if still in full time education). Dependent children do not have to be your children. They can also be your grandchildren or your foster children. If you have no dependent children you will get 5 points for each category.
There might be more people living in your home than fit in the bedrooms. You can get 10 points for each bedroom that you are short. The Housing Executive will measure your rooms to decide whether they are a boxroom, single bedroom or double bedroom. The Housing Executive has specific measurements for each of these types of room:
- rooms smaller than 3.7 square metres (40 square feet) are not suitable as a bedroom;
- a boxroom between 3.7 and 6.5 square metres (40 and 69 square feet) is only suitable for a child under 7;
- a single room between 6.5 and 9.3 square metres (70 and 99 square feet) is suitable for one person of any age, two people of the same gender under 18 or two children under 7;
- a room over 9.3 square metres (100 square feet) is suitable for one person of any age, two people living as a couple, two people of the same gender under 18 or two children under 7.
A bedroom must have suitable headroom and should be able to contain a bed and appropriate furniture. If you are over 18 or a lone parent, you will not be expected to share a bedroom. If a property has two reception rooms, one will be counted as a bedroom.
The underoccupation penalty or bedroom tax which was introduced in other parts of the UK in April 2013 requires that children of different genders share a room until they are 10. The Housing Executive is considering changing the overcrowding rules so that a single room will be seen as suitable for two children aged under 10, regardless of their gender.
Lack of amenities or disrepair
You can get a maximum of 80 points if your current accommodation lacks basic facilities or is in disrepair. The Housing Executive will give you 10 points for each category that your current accommodation meets.
- your accommodation is a risk to your health and physical safety;
- your accommodation has damp that is damaging your health; (temporary condensation is not enough to get you 10 points);
- you don't have adequate light, heat or ventilation;
- you don't have an adequate supply of water;
- you don't have adequate cooking facilities;
- your toilet opens directly onto your kitchen;
- you don't have a bath or shower with hot water;
- you don't have mains electricity.
The property you are living in usually needs to be pretty bad to get disrepair points. If you think your property might be unfit or in a serious state of disrepair, contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer and ask for an inspection.
Time in housing need
You can get a maximum of 10 points for spending time on the waiting list. If you have been on the waiting list for two years, you will get two extra points. You will then get another two points per year.
Get advice if you think the Housing Executive has not assessed your application correctly. Advice is available from Housing Rights Service.
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