Intermediate Rent

The Department for Communities has produced a new affordable housing policy which aims to create an additional supply of homes, providing a new affordable “Intermediate Rent” housing option.

Affordable housing

This is part of a programme of work to increase the supply of affordable housing and intends to complement the support already in place for social housing and shared ownership (or intermediate housing for sale). This new affordable housing product can also contribute to supporting the delivery of affordable housing through Local Development Plans, which are being taken forward by Councils.

The Intermediate Rent policy, which sets out the framework for Intermediate Rent to allow for the future development of a new supply of high quality, long-term, affordable housing with support services comes following a public consultation on the new policy. All background papers including the consultation papers, equality screening, Consultation Outcome Report and summary document can be accessed on the Departmental website.

What is Intermediate Rent?

Intermediate Rent is a new housing rental model for the local housing market.  It intends to provide an additional rental choice for lower to moderate income households, providing longer-term, higher quality, well-managed homes at below market rents. Intermediate Rent can provide a solution for households struggling to meet open market rental costs, and those wishing to enter low cost home ownership in the future.

The Intermediate Rent Policy intends to:

  • create a new supply of homes
  • provide much needed high-quality housing at below market rents for those on lower to moderate incomes
  • offer homes for rent with at least a 20% discount on prevailing private market rents for a similar property type and size within a locality
  • provide homes of a size and type suitable for the number of occupants, in locations where people wish to live
  • alleviate some of the up-front barriers to accessing a rented home and be targeted towards eligible lower to moderate income households
  • offer enhanced security of tenure by making available tenancies of up to five years at a time and the option to renew subject to the agreement of the landlord and tenant, and
  • offer tenants access to effective and prompt property management and tenancy support services

Intermediate Rent tenancies are a form of private rented tenancy, therefore all of the rights and obligations in place in respect of any private tenancy apply to Intermediate Rent tenancies.

Intermediate Rent homes can make a positive difference for tenants when it comes to rental affordability and can reduce or remove some of the barriers which some people can face in finding and sustaining a tenancy in a home that meets their needs.

Intermediate Rent can be developed with or without government financial support, and all providers should refer to and follow the content of the policy.

There are currently no Intermediate Rent homes available to rent. Once homes are developed more information will be published here.

Apply for Intermediate Rent Funding

The Department for Communities has launched a competition to award funding to support the delivery of a new supply of Intermediate Rent homes and is seeking to work with an Intermediate Rent Operator who will deliver and let these homes in line with the policy and design standards.

The competition launched on 15 May 2024. The window to submit applications will be open from 1 June 2024 and will close at 4pm on 23 August 2024.

Funding, for the delivery and letting of 300 Intermediate Rent homes, will be offered to a single supplier (which can be a single organisation or several organisations working collaboratively) who will act as an Intermediate Rent Operator. The funding available will be a long-term low-interest Financial Transactions Capital loan. The Intermediate Rent Operator will, subject to conditions, use that funding alongside their own contribution to deliver and operate Intermediate Rent homes. 

Applicants must meet eligibility criteria set out in the application guidance which includes experience in the development and management of housing within the Northern Ireland housing market.

Information on how to apply, including registering for an application pack, can be found at the link below.

Competition engagement events

The Department held engagement sessions, to give an opportunity for those interested in applying to raise queries in relation to making an application or about the application process. 

Online sessions were held via MS Teams on:

  • 29 May 2024 at 2pm and
  • 19 June 2024 at 10am

Clarification questions

Clarification queries can be submitted by email. Answers to clarification questions received, including those raised during engagement events, have been published and responses to any further queries received may be published periodically while the competition is live.

Intermediate Rent Policy and ‘Homes for Intermediate Rent Design Standards’  

To completement the policy a bespoke “Homes for Intermediate Rent Design Standards” document has been produced to provide information on the standards expected for Intermediate Rent homes. It sets outs the essential and desirable construction, layout and facilities criteria which Intermediate Rent homes should meet, both internally and externally.

Tenancy support services

Intermediate Rent landlords must provide support services to their tenants as detailed in the Intermediate Rent Policy. To assist providers, a Support Services document which details their obligations and provides links to organisations which can offer this support to tenants has been developed.

Market rent data

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive now regularly publishes a report detailing a summary of average weekly private sector market rents figures to assist with the setting of rents for Intermediate Rent properties.

This data is intended to act as a guide and Intermediate Rent landlords should seek confirmation, at the time of letting, of local average market rents for similar type / size of units from a suitably qualified professional (e.g. a RICS certified surveyor).

The Average Weekly Market Rent data is calculated based on the number of bedrooms in a property and in which of eight Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMAs) it is located. Intermediate Rent should be set with at least a 20% discount on average local market rents for a similar property type and size within an area.


If you require clarification regarding the policy intentions, please email the Department for Communities Intermediate Rent project team.

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