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Housing in the 2017 Assembly Election manifestos

With the Assembly election just days away, we’ve taken a look at the housing content of the main parties’ election manifestos.


The Alliance manifesto has 39 pledges on housing, including the following:

  • Ensure housing standards provide for sustainable and well-built houses.
  • Introduce legislation to improve the regulation of the private rented sector, focussing on increasing security of tenure, improving standards in poorer homes and reducing up-front fees.
  • Introduce a regulatory mechanism for letting agencies.
  • Support independent housing advice services.
  • Ensure any proposed reforms to social housing provision do not jeopardise fairness, quality or diminish equality of access.
  • Aim to eradicate homelessness and facilitating multi-agency working to meet this target.
  • Provide access to independent advice for people in mortgage/rent arrears, including emergency help at court proceedings.
  • Make affordable credit facilities more accessible (e.g. by encouraging new initiatives involving social housing providers and credit unions).
  • Commission a landmark Shared Housing Review of housing provision in Northern Ireland undertaken by a commission of experts to produce detailed recommendations by 2018.


The DUP’s manifesto focuses on their “5-point plan” for Northern Ireland, which they aim to advance through ten broad elements, several of which encompass housing.

The manifesto also points to the work undertaken by the Department for Communities in the previous Assembly, which included:

  • Delivering mitigations measures to combat the introduction of the Bedroom Tax.
  • Investing in the Co-ownership scheme, and supporting a Rent-To-Own scheme.
  • Additional funding for Fuel Poverty and the Supporting People program.

Green Party

The Green Party’s manifesto contains 10 commitments relating to housing, including the following:

  • Draw together existing energy efficiency funding streams into a one-stop Green New Deal model.
  • Abolish the ‘priority need’ test for homeless applicants so that every homeless person can seek help.
  • Protect the Supporting People budget.
  • Continue to oppose the bedroom tax after 2020, when current mitigation measures will end.
  • Work with mortgage lenders and other private sector sources to ensure advice and assistance is available for struggling homeowners.

People Before Profit

The People Before Profit manifesto contains the following housing related commitments: 

  • Use the £700 million borrowed under Fresh Start to launch a “crash programme” of social housing, including more 1- and 2-bedroom homes. This could reduce homelessness and housing stress, boost the local economy and reduce the Housing Benefit bill.
  • Allow the Housing Executive to borrow.
  • Scrap the bedroom tax before 2020, when the mitigation scheme is due to end.
  • Bring the 32,000 empty homes in Northern Ireland into public ownership, and be made available to applicants for social housing.


The SDLP manifesto mentions the following housing committments:

  • Legislation to place a statutory duty of co-operation on statutory agencies.
  • Build at least 3,000 social homes each year, targeted at areas with greatest social need.
  • Establish a Committee to monitor impact of Welfare Reform.

Sinn Féin

In Sinn Féin's 2017 manifesto, the Party have reiterated the 10 point programme outlined in their 2016 manifesto, which includes a commitment to “10,000 new social and affordable homes.”


The TUV manifesto states they will commit to:

  • Supports an independent Housing Regulator, with responsibility for (inter alia) setting social rent levels.
  • Legislation to help landlords deal with anti-social tenants.
  • Measures to encourage and facilitate shared ownership where this enables owner-occupation.


The UUP manifesto committments to housing include:

  • Build a minimum of 10,000 new social and affordable homes.
  • Speed up the planning process, and discourage land banking.
  • Allow the NIHE to borrow.
  • Require all private rented properties to have an EPC of E or above.
  • Introduce a cross-departmental duty to prevent homelessness.

In 2016, we produced an election edition of our ‘Housing Matters’ newsletter which outlined priorities for the incoming Assembly. 

Tagged In

Policy, NI Assembly


Stephen Orme

This article was written on 28 February 2017. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.