What is the difference between affordable housing and social housing?

If you’re looking to rent or buy a home at the moment, you’ve probably come across the terms ‘affordable housing’ and ‘social housing’. While they sound similar, the two are, in fact, very different. 

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is affordable housing?

Affordable housing is a broad term used to describe a collection of government schemes where properties are offered at below-market value, either for sale or rent. 

These schemes aim to help individuals who would otherwise struggle to rent or buy a property. Initiatives included under the banner of affordable housing are as follows: 

  • Shared ownership
  • Rent to buy
  • Intermediate rent
  • Social rented housing 

As you can see, one facet of affordable housing is ‘social rented housing’. In essence, social housing is a sub-set of affordable housing. We’ll explore what it means in further detail below. 

What is social housing?

Social housing, or social rented housing, is one aspect of the government’s affordable housing drive. Social houses are properties rented to in-need individuals at a lower cost than renting privately. 

Tenants rent their homes from housing associations or local councils instead of a private landlord. The rent prices of social houses are determined by local income levels rather than national stipulations, meaning social houses are very affordable. 

Qualifying and priority criteria for social housing varies between boroughs. To check if you are eligible, please visit your local council website. 

If you have any questions or would like any support, we’re here to help. Contact the friendly team at PLS solicitors for a free, no-obligation chat.