What is Social Housing?
Local authorities are the main providers of social housing or 'housing authorities' for people who cannot afford to buy their own homes. Local authority housing is allocated according to eligibility and need. Rents are based on the household's ability to pay.
Housing associations (sometimes called 'voluntary housing' or 'voluntary housing associations') and housing co-operatives also provide social housing for people who cannot afford to buy their own homes.
Since the 1st of April 2011 Local Authority Social Housing Support include the following housing schemes:
- Local Authority Housing Stock
- Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS)
- Long Term Leasing
- Traveller Specific Accommodation
- Voluntary Housing
- Local Authority Housing Stock:
Local Authority Housing Stock is housing owned by the Local Authority and rented to persons who are not in a position to provide housing for themselves because of their circumstances.
Galway City Council's housing stock comprises of houses, duplex townhouses and apartments. Some of Galway City Council's housing units are designated for persons with special needs and the elderly.
- Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS)
The Rental Accommodation Scheme is another form of housing support for people on the Housing Waiting List and who are in receipt of Rent Supplement for 18 months or more.
The Council enters into a contract with Landlords to secure good quality accommodation from the private rented sector. People who are in receipt of Rent Supplement at their current address may be able to remain in their current property if their landlord is interested in joining the RAS scheme and provided that their current accommodation meets the required standards. Under the Rental Accommodation Scheme tenants pay rent directly to the City Council rather than their landlord and this rent is based on the Council's differential rent scheme. The Local Authority pays an agreed rental amount to the landlord. Contracts are usually for the duration that the tenant resides at the property.
- Long Term Leasing
Long Term Leasing is the most recent form of social housing. Persons on the Housing Waiting List are provided with accommodation on a long-term basis (usually for a 4 year or 8 year period) through the private rented sector. Existing tenants may be able to remain in their current property if their landlord is interested in joining the scheme and the tenant's current accommodation meets the required standards. Otherwise the Council will assist the tenant in sourcing new accommodation. Under the Long Term Leasing scheme tenants pay rent directly to the City Council rather than their landlord and this rent is based on the Council's differential rent scheme. .
If you have any further queries in relation to Social Housing Leasing you should contact the Housing section at 091 894370
- Traveller Specific Accommodation:
Traveller Specific Accommodation provides bays in halting sites as well as traveller group schemes. Please note if you are interested in this type of accommodation, you must select this option on the housing application form.
- Voluntary Housing:
Voluntary Housing is housing provided by Voluntary Bodies who receive funding from the Government nationally. There are a number of Voluntary Bodies within the functional area of Galway City Council. We have certain nomination rights to these voluntary units.
Note: If you are successful in becoming a tenant of a Voluntary Body, you are removed from the Local Authority housing waiting list.
Am I eligible for Social Housing?
In order to qualify for Social Housing, you must be eligible and in need of social housing.
- Galway City Council will assess your eligibility first
- It will only assess whether you need social housing after it has deemed you to be eligible
Foreign nationals must have a legal right to remain in the State on a long-term basis before they can apply for Social Housing.
To be regarded as eligible for social housing you must satisfy the income criteria.
You must also show that you do not have suitable alternative accommodation.
The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has published a detailed guidance document on how household income is to be assessed by local authorities. There are 3 maximum income thresholds that apply to different housing authorities. The Department has published a table showing these maximum net income limits (pdf).
You will be regarded as having alternative accommodation if a member of the household has property that the household could reasonably be expected to live in. This includes property that is being rented out - (under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 you can terminate the tenancy if the household needs the property to live in.)
A property will not be regarded as alternative accommodation in the following cases:
- It is occupied by someone who is divorced or legally separated from a member of the household, or whose civil partnership with a household member has been dissolved
- It would be overcrowded if the household lived in it
- It is unfit for human habitation
- It would not adequately meet the accommodation requirements of a household member with a disability
When deciding whether your household is in need of social housing the housing authority must consider the following questions in relation to your current accommodation:
- Is it an institution, emergency accommodation or hostel?
- Is it overcrowded?
- Is it fit for human habitation?
- Does it meet the accommodation requirements of a household member with a disability?
- If it is shared with another household, have you a reasonable requirement for separate accommodation?
- Is it unsuitable for your household's adequate housing in any other material respect, having regard to particular household circumstances, or on exceptional medical or compassionate grounds?
- If your household's current mortgage has been classified as unsustainable as part of the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process (MARP) laid down by the Central Bank?
How do I apply for Social Housing?
If you wish to apply for Social Housing in Galway City, you must complete a Social Housing Application Form and submit a complete Housing Application to Galway City Council.Housing Application Form [English] Housing Application Form [Irish]
- You can only apply to one housing authority for social housing. Since 1st July, 2011 under the Social Housing Assessment (Amendment) Regulations 2011, Galway City and Galway County are now deemed as one common application area.
- In general, you must already be living in the area covered by that housing authority or have a local connection with the area - though a housing authority may agree to waive this requirement. Therefore, should you move to an address outside Galway City you will have to prove a local connection with Galway City in order to keep your application open with Galway City Council.
- You will only be considered for social housing if your household income is less than the threshold that applies in the housing authority's area.
What are the opening hours of the Housing Counter in Galway City Council?
The Housing public counter is open from 9.30am to 1pm, Monday to Friday.
Phones lines are open on 091-536400 from 9am to 5pm.
Galway City Council offices are located at City Hall, College Road, Galway.
How do I submit a Social Housing Application?
You may submit a Social Housing Application:
- By Post to Housing Section of Galway City Council.
- In person at the Housing public counter in City Council Offices.
Note: If any of the documentation required as part of your application is missing or if your application is incomplete, your housing application will be deemed invalid and will be returned to you.
Where can I get a copy of the Housing Application Form and Certificate of Income?Housing Application Form Certificate of Income form HMD – Form 1
Alternatively you may obtain an Social Housing Application Form and Certificate of Income form from the Housing Section at:
Galway City Council,
Contact No: 091-894370 or by email: email@example.com
I wish to apply for Rent Supplement - what do I need to do?
Apply for Rent Supplement (External Link)
What is a Certificate of Income?
A Certificate of Income is required for each of the following if applicable in your case:
- Main Applicant
- Joint Applicant
- Any dependents over the age of 18.
The Certificate of Income must be completed by:
- Employer (if relevant) (Page 1)
The Certificate of Income must be submitted along with a complete Housing Application
My CWO / HEO requires a Housing Needs Assessment Letter?
The Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) will request that you obtain a Housing Needs Assessment Letter from your local authority if you wish to apply for rent supplement.
- Are you already approved on our Housing Waiting List?
- If YES, please contact the housing department of Galway City Council offices for an up-to-date Housing Needs Assessment letter. (Contact No: 091-894370, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling to the public counter at City Hall between 1pm and 4pm, Monday to Friday.)
- If NO - in order to qualify for Rent Supplement with the Dept. of Social Protection & Family Affairs, one of the criteria is that you must have a Housing Needs Assessment carried out by the relevant local authority i.e. Any persons living within the functional area of Galway City apply to Galway City Council. In order for this assessment to be carried out a person must submit a Housing Application along with all relevant documentation including a Certificate of Income as set out in the checklist of the Social Housing Application Form Social Housing Application Form [Irish]
Once your Housing Needs Assessment is complete, your local authority can issue you with a Housing Needs Assessment Letter to submit to the Department of Social Protection and Family Affairs.
Rent Supplement is not payable while the local authority is carrying out a housing needs assessment.
- Are you already approved on our Housing Waiting List?
How long does it take to receive a Housing Needs Assessment?
- On receipt of a valid Housing Application, it may take up to 12 weeks to receive a Housing Needs Assessment letter.
- Please note that this period may be extended if further information/clarification is requested prior to final assessment.
- Once an assessment has been carried out on your Housing application, you will be notified in writing of your reference number and the decision on your application.
What do I do on receipt of Housing Needs Assessment letter?
You should bring the letter to the Department of Social Protection & Family Affairs, if you are applying for Rent Supplement.
What do I do about Housing Application if my circumstances have changed?
You are required to notify us of any change in your circumstances for example change of address, family size, income so that we can keep your application file up to date. Please quote your reference number in any queries/submission of documentation to the Housing Department.
- Adding an additional child dependent - it will be necessary to complete an Additional Dependant Form and submit it with a copy of birth certificate and up-to-date evidence of child benefit and income.
- Moving address - please complete a Change of Address Form and submit it with evidence of your new address - examples of evidence accepted with form are set out on the Change of Address Form.
- I want to add a joint applicant to my current application . It will be necessary to complete a new housing application jointly and submit the application with all relevant documentation for the person whom you wish to add to your current application. Please note all other parts of the new housing application should refer to the person whom you are adding to your application e.g. list of previous addresses. This application should be signed jointly. When submitting this new application please quote your current housing reference and the request to add this person to your application. Social Housing Application Form [English] Social Housing Application Form [Irish]
- Change in Income: If previously in employment and now in receipt of Social Welfare, please submit Copy of P45 & letter from Department of Social Protection & Family Affairs outlining details of payment type, amount and commencement date.
When will I receive an offer of accommodation from Galway City Council?
All allocations are time-based in accordance with our Scheme of Letting Priorities as per Social Housing Allocations Scheme
What is my position on the Housing Waiting List?
To find out where you are on the Housing Waiting List please contact us:
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 091-894370
- or call to the public counter between 9.30am and 1pm Monday to Friday.
What are the Income Thresholds/Limits to be eligible for housing?
- €40,000 for one person
- Additional 5% for each household member over 18 years up to a maximum of 10%
- Additional 2.5% additional for each household member aged less than 18 years
Family Size Income Threshold (net) Single Person 40000 2 Adults 42000 3 adults or more 44000 Single person with one child 41000 Single person with two children 42000 Single person with three children 43000 Single person with four children 44000 H+W with one child 43000 H+W with two children 44000 H+W with three children 45000 H+W with four children 46000 H+W+1 adult dependent 44000 H+W+ 1 adult dependent + 1 child 45000 H+W+1 adult dependent + 2 children 46000 H+W+1 adult dependent + 3 children 47000 H+W+1 adult dependent + 4 children 48000
(as per Circular; Housing 48/2022 from Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage dated 8th December, 2022)