Minister announces new funding offer to deliver affordable homes for rent

Date published: 14 May 2024


Communities Minister Gordon Lyons has today announced a funding opportunity to build more affordable homes for lower income tenants as a strand of the forthcoming Housing Supply Strategy.

Minister Lyons is holding a key with David Polley

The Intermediate Rent scheme will offer funding in the form of a long-term, low interest government loan to an operator who will develop a new supply of affordable homes for rent. This funding scheme, developed through extensive engagement with the sector to determine the attractiveness and viability of the scheme, will bring to life the Department’s Intermediate Rent policy.

Mr Lyons said:

“As Minister for Housing, it is my priority to bring forward a range of measures to ensure working families have access to safe, secure, and affordable housing.

“Intermediate Rent is a key strand of this. The funding available to deliver intermediate housing for rent will create a supply of homes offering another housing option for those who find themselves priced out of the mainstream rental market.

“Many people are struggling to access a home suited to their needs, exacerbated by increasing rents and insecurity in the private rented sector, while demand continues to exceed supply for social homes.”

Intermediate Rent is a new form of affordable rented housing, sitting between social housing and the private rented sector in terms of cost, and providing a high standard of quality and better security. It offers homes with discounted rents, making them available to those on lower incomes, and can offer another housing option to those struggling with affordability while either saving towards home ownership or while awaiting a social home.

The Minister continued:

“Growing the supply of more affordable, better quality homes for rent with longer-term tenancies is a key commitment for my Department. The Intermediate Rent scheme will complement the Social Housing Development Programme, supporting people who might otherwise struggle to find rented accommodation, putting a home within reach of individuals and families.

“We are inviting potential operators to submit an application to run this innovative scheme, which will offer a more secure, cost effective and sustainable housing option.”

The funding will see the delivery of 300 new affordable Intermediate Rent homes in Northern Ireland in the first phase. Homes will be available to eligible lower income households, with discounted rents set at least 20% below market rent levels for a locality. Homes will be advertised for rent and applications will be open to eligible households.

Anyone interested in applying for this funding opportunity should review the application guidance and may request an application form via the DfC website. The window for applications will close at 4pm on 23 August 2024.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photo caption: Housing Minister Gordon Lyons and DfC Director of Housing Supply Policy David Polley launch the Intermediate Rent Scheme, an initiative which aims to supply 300 homes at rents below the market rate. Speaking in the Assembly, the Minister outlined his priority to bring forward a range of measures to ensure working families have access to safe, secure and affordable housing. This initiative will offer another housing option for those who find themselves priced out of the mainstream rental market.
  2. More information on the Intermediate Rent policy and the funding competition is available on the Department for Communities website:  The competition will open at 9am on 15 May, 2024.
  3. Funding in the form of a long-term, low interest Financial Transactions Capital loan will be offered to an eligible single supplier (a single organisation or two or more organisations working collaboratively) who will act as an Intermediate Rent Operator.  The Operator will also contribute to delivery costs in addition to government funding.
  4. Intermediate Rent is one of a range of measures aimed at increasing the supply of and access to affordable housing. The delivery of more affordable housing is a central tenet of the forthcoming Housing Supply Strategy. This new type of affordable housing can also contribute to supporting the delivery of affordable housing through Local Development Plans, which are being taken forward by Councils.
  5. There are currently no Intermediate Rent homes available to rent. Eligibility to access a tenancy will be based on household income, with single adult household income capped at £30k and two adult household income at £40k (net). Once homes using this funding are available, they will be advertised by the Operator for rent. The Department will work with the funded operator to deliver homes as soon as is practicable, with an aim for the first tenancies to be in place from 2026.
  6. For media queries contact the Department for Communities at DFC Press Office
  7. Follow us on Twitter @CommunitiesNI
  8. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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