Social housing in South Africa, implemented by the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA), is a critical component of the country’s efforts to address the housing needs of low- to middle-income households. As a nation with a past of inequality, providing affordable housing solutions is essential for promoting social and economic inclusion. The term “social housing” refers to rental housing units that are subsidised by the government and managed by delivery agents which are called social housing institutions (SHIs) or Other Delivery Agents (ODA). These units are specifically aimed at households earning between R1,850 and R22 000 per month. The objective of the social housing programme is to offer quality, affordable rental housing close to economic opportunities and essential services such as schools, healthcare, and public transport.

Key features in social housing include:

  • Affordability: Social housing aims to provide rental units at rates lower than the private market, making them accessible to lower-income households.
  • Quality: These housing units are built to good standards to ensure safe and dignified living conditions.
  • Location: Typically, social housing projects are in areas that offer access to job opportunities and essential services to enhance the quality of life for residents.
  • Management: Social housing is managed by delivery agents, which are responsible for the maintenance and operation of the housing units, ensuring that tenants receive the intend value of living in a social housing project.

Social housing plays a vital role in addressing South Africa’s housing crisis. It helps to:

  • Reduce Inequality: By providing affordable housing options, social housing contributes to reducing economic disparities.
  • Promote Social Cohesion: Well-located housing can foster more integrated communities, bridging the gap between different socio-economic groups.
  • Boost Economic Growth: Access to affordable housing close to economic hubs can improve productivity and employment opportunities, driving economic development.
  • Enhance Quality of Life: Safe and affordable housing improves the overall well-being of individuals and families, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their lives such as education and healthcare.

In addition to being within the require income bracket, individuals or families seeking rental in social housing projects must meet the following criteria to apply for social housing:

  • You must be 21 years or older;
  • Clean credit record (affordability);
  • South African citizen or permanent resident;
  • Married or single, with or without dependents;
  • Competent to contract; and
  • Able to pay the required monthly rental.


It is also important to highlight that once you stay in social housing there is no prospect of ownership as it entails rental in perpetuity. The Department of Human Settlements does however have an entity which looks after a programme called “First Home Finance” which provides subsidies for those applying for housing bonds for the first time.


To access social housing, the first step is to contact a social housing landlord operating in the area you would like to live in. Please visit to see our directory of social housing project across the country or contact the SHRA at