The recently published Housing (Scotland) Bill is proposing significant changes to how social landlords can allocate housing.
Changes to the allocation rules are proposed to the following:
The Bill proposes a shorter applicant category list who must be given reasonable preference. Beyond these categories RSLs will have greater freedom to create groups they wish to house. Proposed categories are:
- homeless persons who have 'unmet housing needs'
- persons living in 'unsatisfactory housing conditions' who also have 'unmet housing needs'
- tenants who are under occupying
Rules on priority of allocation
Before making/altering rules on allocations RSL must consult with applicants on housing list, tenants and other specified bodies. A report must be published on this consultation
Age of applicants
RSLs will be allowed to take the age of applicant into account when allocating housing. This will be subject to 'unlawful discrimination' under the Equality Act 2010 on the ground of the 'protected characteristic of age'.
Ownership of property by applicants
The Bill will allow RSLs to be able to stop allocations to existing property owners except where:
- Property is not let and owner cannot secure entry to it
- Occupation would lead to abuse
- Occupation would endanger health of occupants and no reasonable step can be taken by applicant to prevent that danger
Waiting period before allocation
Another proposal in the Bill will allow RSLs to impose a requirement that an applicant for housing must have been on the housing list for a minimum period in various circumstances. Guidance will be issued on maximum period and there will be a right of appeal to a sheriff for applicants who are unhappy with your decision.
Who can be subject to minimum period?
The Bill proposes that the following categories of applicants will be affected:
- Persons who have previously acted antisocially
- Persons who have been convicted of using house illegally/convicted of offence committed in house or its locality
- Persons previously evicted by court order within the UK
- Persons who lost a tenancy via abandonment
- Persons evicted on grounds 3/4 of 2001 Act
- Persons with rent arrears which are not being paid/were not paid
- Person who lied to get a tenancy
- Persons who have unreasonably refused one or more offers of housing
If you have any queries regarding the Housing (Scotland) Bill, please do not hesitate to contact any member of our housing team.