Social housing is unique in that it is the only type of housing where rents are linked to income. So, generally speaking, social homes are the most affordable homes across the country, usually rented at about 50% of the average local market rent. Houses and flats for public or social housing use are built by or for local authorities. Historically known as council houses, since the 1980s non-profit housing associations have become more prominent and social housing has become the default term.
Approximately 55% of the country’s social housing stock is owned by local authorities – of which 15% is managed on a day-to-day basis by arms-length management organisations rather than the authority – and 45% by housing associations offering social homes, shared ownership, supported and specialist housing.