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Social Housing

When you rent a home from a council or housing association (also known as registered provider) you are living in social housing. 

Housing associations also known as Registered Providers are not-for-profit organisations and are the main providers of social housing. Some Councils also own and manage social housing, those who do not, will have transferred their housing stock to housing associations.


The rents in social housing are usually lower than in the private rented sector. Councils and housing associations may also charge slightly higher rents than social rents, called affordable rent. This is where the rent is charged up to 80% of local market rent levels. The aim of affordable rent is to have greater flexibility offered for the range of people accessing social housing.

Types of tenancies

There are different types of council and housing association tenancies that have different rights, so it’s good to know what these are before you take up a tenancy. If renting from a council you may be given an introductory, secure or flexible tenancy. If renting from a housing association you may be given a starter, assured or flexible tenancy. You can read more about tenancy types here.

If you want to rent social housing in Kent

Kent Homechoice is the choice-based lettings service for all social housing in Kent. There is a high demand for social housing and those who have the highest housing need have the best chance of getting a home this way. Our Introductory information about Kent Homechoice tells you all you need to know about how Kent Homechoice works, and you will need to register for Kent Homechoice  and be eligible to take part.

Contact details for your Local Council can be found hereHousing Associations that have property in Kent and are part of Kent Homechoice can be found here.

Mutual exchange

Mutual exchange is where social housing tenants can swap their homes with other tenants, providing they have the right to do so. If you are already a social housing tenant, you should look at your landlord's website to see what mutual exchange options and services are available to you. 


If you live in social housing and your home is now too large for your needs, you may wish to consider downsizing to a smaller property. Many social landlords run incentive schemes to help you downsize Read more about downsizing schemes in your area.

For more information

Gov.UK provides useful information on council housing.

Shelter provides useful information on renting from a council or housing association.