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Glossary of Housing Terms

Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs): are also known as housing associations or voluntary housing associations. They are independent, not-for-profit organisations. They provide affordable, rented accommodation for people who cannot afford to pay private sector rents or buy their own homes; or for certain groups, such as older people or homeless people. More information on approved housing bodies is available on the Citizens Information Website. You can find information on the regulation of approved housing bodies through the AHB Regulation Office.

Citizens Information: Provides comprehensive information on public services and on the entitlements of citizens in Ireland. Information is gathered from various government departments and agencies, to make sure that you have all the information you need. The information is presented in a straightforward way. You can find out more on the Citizens Information website.

Differential Rent: Local authority rents are based on a system called 'differential rent'. This means that the amount of rent you pay depends on the amount of your total household income. Each local authority operates its own rent scheme and you should contact your local authority to review the rent scheme it operates.

Exceptional Needs Payment: Exceptional Needs Payment is a single payment to help meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenditure, which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income such as the costs of setting up a home for the first time.

Housing Assistance Payment (HAP): HAP is a form of social housing support provided by all local authorities. HAP means that local authorities can provide housing assistance for households who qualify for social housing support, including many long-term rent supplement recipients. You can find out more on the HAP website.

Local authorities: are also know as City and County Councils. Local authorities are responsible for the delivery of a wide range of services in their local area. Local authorities are the main providers of social housing. You can find more information through our "Find my local authority" page

Long-term housing need: A person is considered to have a long-term housing need where the person will need help with accommodation for the foreseeable future. This need will be assessed by the local authority. You can find more information on our social housing eligibility and need page.

Long-term leasing: Under the Social Housing Leasing Initiative, a property owner can lease their property to a local authority or housing association which in turn can use this property for social housing. This lease can be for between 10-20 years. You can find more information on our property owners and landlords page.

Mortgage to Rent (MTR): The Mortgage to Rent scheme is a government initiative to help homeowners who are at risk of losing their home through mortgage arrears. You can find out more information on our Mortgage to Rent page.

Multi-Unit Development (MUD): A multi-unit development is a development in which there are at least 5 residential units and the units share facilities, amenities and services.  The term comes from the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011. You can find more information on MUDs here.

Owners’ Management Company (OMC): A not-for-profit company established for the management of a MUD. It owns the common areas of the estate. It is collectively owned and controlled by all the owners of the properties within the estate. The directors are elected by the OMC members, and are typically unpaid volunteers.

Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS): Under the Rental Accommodation Scheme, local authorities draw up contracts with landlords to provide housing for an agreed term, for people with a long-term housing need. This is usually for 4 years but it can be anywhere between 1-10 years. The local authority pays the rent directly to the landlord. You contribute to your rent but you pay this contribution to your local authority, not to your landlord. Information on RAS is available on the website of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Rent Supplement: is a means-tested payment for certain people living in private rented accommodation who cannot provide for the cost of their accommodation from their own resources. This is usually for people with a short-term housing need. More information on Rent Supplement is available on the Citizens Information Website.

Short-term housing need: A person has a short-term housing need if their need for housing is only temporary – for example, if they have lost their job or their circumstances will improve soon. Their need will be assessed by the local authority. You can find more information on our social housing eligibility and need page.

Social housing support: Housing, grants and assistance to help with paying rent for eligible households. The funds are provided by your local authority or by a housing association. You can find more information on our social housing support page.