Guide to Successful Tenant Participation

This Guide will be useful to tenants, tenant groups, Local Authority and Housing Association staff who want to know more about TP and who would like to develop their involvement and scrutiny activities further. It is designed for all staff and will be of particular use to staff with strategic responsibility for TP and scrutiny front line staff who work with tenants.

Appendix 4: Jargon Buster

This jargon buster has been created to help people understand the everyday terms used in the social housing sector.

The social housing sector is formed of both Local Authority (LA) and Registered Social Landlords (RSLs). RSLs are independent housing organisations, including housing associations, housing co-operatives, Abbeyfield societies, and co-ownership societies registered with the Scottish Housing Regulator.

A working group was established to ensure that as many terms used on a daily basis are included in this document. We would like to thank the working group who volunteered their time, ideas, and efforts to develop this Jargon Buster. The working group included:

  • Bruce Cuthbertson, East Ayrshire Federation
  • Catherine Thomson, Stevenson and Saltcoats Tenants Panel 
  • Fran Milligan, Kirkstyle Tenants and Residents Association 
  • Ian McPherson, Cunninghame Housing Association 
  • James McLelland, East Ayrshire Federation 
  • John Nesbitt, Cunninghame Scrutiny Panel 
  • John McKenzie, Campbell Area Tenants and Residents Association 
  • Kevin Hamilton, East Ayrshire Council 
  • Lynn Graham, East Ayrshire Federation 
  • William Irvine, Glen Oaks Service Improvement Group

We would also like to thank Jim Bauld of TC Young, who carried out the legal check for this publication.

How to use this Jargon Buster

There are two main sections in this document:

Section 1 – Key Housing Words and Abbreviations

This section provides a definition of words and phrases in alphabetical order, along with the abbreviations commonly used for these words or phrases.

Section 2 – Key Housing Organisations

This section provides a fuller explanation of the organisations that influence housing policy developments in Scotland.

Purpose of the guide

This guide provides a useful reference document for those working and volunteering in the social rented sector. It provides Plain English explanations of the jargon and abbreviations commonly used in housing and should give the reader a clearer understanding of housing services, housing policy and legislation. 

Landlords may also find the document a useful resource for communicating with tenants and residents on complex housing issues.

Key Housing Words and Abbreviations

Abandoned House

An empty house where a tenant has stopped living in the house without informing the landlord.

Abbeyfield (Societies) Scotland

Registered as a social landlord with the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR), Abbeyfield Scotland provides supported housing for older people.

Absentee Landlord

Landlords who do not live in or near the property that they own, and who rarely visit it. In many cases, they will carry out the absolute minimum required to maintain the property. 

Access to Personal Files

The Access to Personal Files Housing (Scotland) Regulations 1992, gave tenants the right to examine certain information held in written form by a landlord on him/her. They were repealed in March 2000 and rights to information are now covered by the ‘Data Protection Act 2018’.


Assurance that a landlord organisation, or tenants and resident’s organisation, will be measured on their performance or behaviour related to the things they are responsible for.

This includes justifying actions to the tenants or customers affected by the actions or decisions taken.

Accounts Commission

The Accounts Commission is the public spending watchdog for Local Government. It is a statutory, independent body, which, through the audit process, assists Local Authorities in Scotland to achieve the highest standards of financial stewardship and the economic, efficient, and effective use of their resources.

In housing terms, the organisation is responsible for ensuring that there is no misuse of money in the housing department of the Local Authority and that it is properly managed.


The purchase or transfer, of property or land, that becomes a landlord asset.


The initials of a phrase that spells a word, for example: TIS = Tenants Information Service and TPAS = Tenant Participation Advisory Service.

Act of Parliament/Act of the Scottish Parliament

An Act of Parliament (or of the Scottish Parliament in areas which are devolved) creates a new law or changes an existing law. Each Act is given a name which identifies it generally by topic, and year in which it was made. For example: Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.

Action Plan

A list of things that a landlord or tenants’ organisation must do in order to achieve an aim or objective within an agreed timescale.

Adapted Housing

Housing that has been altered or built to include features that make it suitable for a person(s) with specific needs.


The level of rent landlords/government believes a tenant can pay without causing hardship.

Affordable Housing

Housing that is available to buy or rent, at a level below the local market level. This can include low cost home ownership, mid-market rented homes or homes that are rented from a Local Authority or Registered Social Landlord.

Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP)

The Scottish Government’s programme for providing grants to Local Authorities and Registered Social Landlords to support the delivery of new affordable housing, to meet needs in their area.


A list of proposals, issues, or items to be delivered or discussed at a meeting.


Things a landlord or tenants’ organisation wants to achieve. Aims are often set out in strategies, alongside all the actions that will need to be carried out to meet each aim.


The process used by landlords to select a tenant for a vacant property. All Local Authorities and Registered Social Landlords are required to follow their allocation policy when making decisions on allocations.

Allocation Policy

The Landlord’s rules for deciding who should get priority in the allocation of houses when they become available for let. Every Local Authority and Registered Social Landlord is legally obliged to have such a policy and must publish it and regularly review it.

Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA)

Are available for Universal Credit (UC) claimants who can’t manage the standard Universal Credit payment. There are three types of APA available: 

  • direct payment of the housing cost element to landlords (known as managed payments);
  • splitting of payment between members of a couple (husband/wife or partners);
  • more frequent payment of benefit.

NOTE: Landlords can request deductions from a claimant’s Universal Credit to repay existing rent arrears. This can be done via the APA form, at the same time as the APA application. Deductions will be a minimum of 10% and maximum of 20% of a claimant’s Universal Credit standard allowance. 

Ambulant Disabled

The term ‘ambulant disabled’ refers to people with a wide range of disabilities who are not regular wheelchair users. This could include, for example, people who have diabetes, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, or cancer.

Amenity Housing

A property with special features, such as level access to assist a tenant to maintain an independent life.

Annual Assurance Statements

Social landlords must submit an Annual Assurance Statement to the Scottish Housing Regulator each year providing assurance that their organisation complies with the relevant requirements of chapter 3 of the Regulatory Framework. This includes regulatory requirements that apply to all social landlords and the Standards of Governance and Financial Management that apply to Registered Social Landlords (RSLs).

The Statement should be made and submitted by the RSL’s governing body, or the relevant local authority committee which has been delegated authority to complete the Statement by the local authority. This guidance is for members of governing bodies and local authority committees.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

An annual general meeting (AGM) is a mandatory yearly gathering of an organisation’s interested members or shareholders. The procedure for holding this meeting and the agenda to be followed will usually be set out in the organisation’s constitution. Usually at the AGM, an annual report will be presented containing information for members or shareholders about the organisation’s performance and strategy.

Votes may be taken on certain matters such as appointments to the organisation’s board or management committee. The meeting usually provides an update of the work of the organisation over the year and the presentation of independently examined or audited accounts.

For some organisations, election of office bearers will take place at the AGM and for others, office bearers will be elected at the first committee meeting after the AGM.

Annual Report

A report produced by an organisation, such as a landlord, or tenants and residents’ group, that sets out what the key actions were that took place over the previous year. It may also include a report of performance and details of accounts.

Annual Return on the Charter (ARC)

Each year, every Registered Social Landlord must complete a report that details how they perform against each of the outcomes in the Scottish Social Housing Charter. They submit this report to the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) and they must publish it for their tenants too.

Annual Report to Tenants

Each year landlords must provide a report to tenants on the organisation’s performance. This should reflect the detail of the Annual Return of the Charter (ARC) and show comparisons with previous years, usually two.

Antisocial Behaviour (ASB)

Antisocial behaviour covers a wide range of unacceptable activity that causes harm, distress, alarm, nuisance, or annoyance to an individual, to their community or to their environment. 

This could be an action by someone else that leaves another person feeling alarmed, harassed, or distressed. It also includes fear of crime or concern for public safety, public disorder, or public nuisance. A number of Acts of Parliament have set out specific remedies open to Registered Social Landlords to deal with antisocial behaviour by tenants/members of their households, or their visitors. 

Antisocial Behaviour Contract (ABC)

A voluntary written agreement made between a landlord and an individual believed to be involved in antisocial behaviour where the individual agrees to take certain steps to modify their actions and to refrain from antisocial behaviour. If the individual fails to comply with the agreement then more formal legal action may follow.

Antisocial Behaviour Notice (ASBN)

Local authorities can serve an Antisocial Behaviour Notice on private landlords in their areas. The ASBN specifies the action the private landlord must take to address antisocial behaviour within their property.

Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBO)

An order which can be granted by the sheriff court after an application is made by either a local authority or a Registered Social Landlord. The order will contain specific terms intended to restrain a person (anyone over the age of 12) from acting in an antisocial manner. Breach of the order is a criminal offence. 

See also Interim Antisocial Behaviour Order.

Antisocial Behaviour Strategy

Antisocial Behaviour Strategy Introduced in the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004. Local authorities and Chief Constables must jointly prepare and publish a strategy setting out how they plan to tackle antisocial behaviour within their areas. The strategy must be reviewed regularly and revised as appropriate.


The amount of money a tenant has not paid to the landlord when it was due and which remains unpaid. See also rent arrears.


An asset is an item of property owned by a person or company, regarded as having value and available to meet debts or commitments.

Asset Management

The process for operating, maintaining, and upgrading physical assets, such as housing stock, in a cost-effective way to maximise financial returns, minimise financial risk and meet the needs of current and future tenants.

Assignation of Tenancy

The process where a tenancy is transferred by specific request from the current tenant to a new tenant. In public sector housing this can only be done with the consent of the landlord.

Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO)

The representative body for local authority housing in Scotland. The chief housing officer from each council is invited to regular meetings to discuss key housing issues affecting local authorities.

See Key Housing Organisations in Section 2 for more information.

Assured Tenancy

The type of tenancy governed by the provision’s contained in the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 and used in the private sector from 2 January 1989 until 1 December 2017. It was also used by Registered Social Landlords from January 1989 until 30 September 2002.

Assured tenancies can no longer be created but those which were created prior to December 2017 will continue to run until ended.

Assured Tenant

A tenant who occupies a property under an assured tenancy.


A process of checking all income and expenditure of a landlord to ensure the money has been spent in a proper and accountable manner.

Audit Scotland

Audit Scotland, is responsible for monitoring how well local authorities deliver their services and spend their money. Audit Scotland checks whether local authorities get the best value for the money they spend.

Average cost per unit

This is worked out by taking the total cost and dividing it by the number of houses involved. Average or unit costs are used in business planning for things like day to day repairs and housing management costs.


A way of allowing all affected individuals to vote on an issue.

  • Tenants and residents’ groups might have a ballot to elect a chairperson.
  • Landlords would have a ballot to allow tenants to vote on whether they should transfer their stock to another landlord or to join a group of landlords. 

Bedroom Tax

An informal name for a measure introduced in the Welfare Reform Act 2012, by which the amount of housing benefit is reduced if the property a person is renting is judged to have more bedrooms than they need. 

Your Housing Benefit could be reduced if you live in social rented housing and have a spare bedroom. The reduction is: 

  • 14% of the ‘eligible rent’ for one spare bedroom
  • 25% of the ‘eligible rent’ for two or more spare bedrooms

Below Tolerable Standard (BTS)

A house falling below the “tolerable standard” which is a minimum quality standard for all housing in Scotland set down in law.

Bench Marking

A system used by landlords to compare the cost and how a service is provided with similar organisations, with a view to adopting best practice.

Best Value

A system that local authorities use to make sure the services they provide deliver continually improving performance, alongside an appropriate balance between quality and cost. 

Bill of Quantities

A document that sets out construction details for every component in a house, with a cost against each item. Landlords use it to pay contractors for new building. See also schedule of rates.

Board of Directors

A group of people, elected by its members, who oversee and control the operation of a Registered Social Landlord. Can also be called a management committee or governing body.

Borrowing Consent

Local authorities need permission from the government to borrow money for certain purposes to spend on its houses. This is known as borrowing consent. 

Breakage Cost

Cost for repaying a loan early to a bank or other lender.

Briefing Paper

A short explanation of a policy or proposal.


An estimate of all income and expenditure over a set period. Most often a year, but other periods can be used.

Building Regulations

These are rules made by the Scottish Ministers under powers contained in an Act of the Scottish Parliament and set the rules for constructing and altering houses.

Business Plan

This is a formal statement of an organisation’s business goals, reasons they are achievable and plans for reaching them. It may include a set of forecasts of the money likely to be required to operate over many years. It is a forward planning tool, and one, which shows financial viability, capacity to repay borrowing and capacity to deliver services. Written business plans are usually required to obtain funding, bank loans, or other financing.

For a landlord, it also shows the organisation’s capacity to reach and maintain suitable standards of housing and housing services, and build new housing.

Buy Back

Process where local authorities and Registered Social Landlords use grants made available by the Scottish Government to buy back houses that were sold under the Right-to-Buy, when they come up for sale on the open market, and make them available for rent to applicants on their waiting list. 

Buy to Let

This refers to the purchase of a property specifically to let out, which is to rent out in the Private Rented Sector. Buy to let properties are usually residential but the term also includes student property investments, and hotel room investments.

Calling up Notice

A formal written notice issued by the lender to the borrower warning that the lender is about to go to court to repossess the property. This is usually because of non-payment of loan instalments.

Capacity Building

The process where tenants’ organisations, community groups, and individuals are supported to develop the skills they need to influence decisions taken by their landlord. This is usually achieved through a mix of training, development and support.

Capacity to Influence

The skills (such as public speaking or negotiation), information (on specific issues) and ability (experience and confidence) members of a tenant’s organisation have to influence decisions taken by their landlord.

Capital Expenditure

Spending to make lasting changes to the quality of houses. This would include items such as replacement windows, doors, kitchens, bathrooms, and installation of external render and insulation.

Capital Funded from Current Revenue (CFCR)

Capital expenditure which is funded out of rents without borrowing.

Capital Improvement Programme (CIP)

A landlord’s plan for investing in tenants’ homes in a way that will make lasting changes to the quality of houses. This includes new doors, windows, kitchen, bathrooms, external insulation, and render. Also known as Capital Investment Programme and Housing Improvement Programme.

Charitable Status

All organisations registered with the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) have charitable status. This is simply another way of saying that a body is a “charity”.


In Scotland, an organisation can only call itself a charity if it is entered in the Scottish Charity Register, published and maintained by Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). Only charities that are based in Scotland, or are controlled from Scotland, can say they are a ‘Scottish charity’ or ‘a registered Scottish charity’. They must meet the “charity test” which means they:

Have only charitable purposes;

  • Provide public benefit;
  • Use their funds and property only for charitable purposes;
  • Allow fair access to the benefit they provide;
  • Not be, or exist to advance, a political party.

As a charity, it cannot distribute any profit (surpluses), by the way of a dividend or other payment to shareholders.

Many Registered Social Landlords are registered with OSCR as charities.

Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH)

CIH is the representative body for housing professionals. 

It researches and produces good practice guidance for housing managers and provides training to all that have an interest in increasing their knowledge in housing matters, including tenants. 

See Key Housing Organisations in Section 2 for more information. 

Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)

CIPFA produces “ratings reviews” which show trends in how much income local authorities bring in and spend across all their services.

Choice Based Lettings (CBL)

Is a type of housing allocation system where applicants bid on available properties, rather than waiting on an offer being made to the individual. Once the bidding closes, the applicant with the highest priority out of all those who made a bid is offered the property.

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

A Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can give free information and advice to people on issues such as benefits, debt, consumer rights.

Clerk of Works

A person employed by a landlord to oversee a contract on a daily basis. Sometimes called a contract supervisor.

Close Circuit Television (CCTV)

A network of TV cameras that can be used to record any activity in the area they oversee. 

Closing Order

A local authority can issue a closing order if a house is below the tolerable standard but is part of a building in which other properties are not. For example, one flat in a block is in a bad state of repair, but the other flats in the block are not. If a closing order is issued it means that the property can no longer be used as living accommodation and it is a criminal offence to continue to live there or to allow anyone to live there.

Closure Notice

Under the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 the police have powers to serve a closure notice to prevent people other than the owner or the usual residents of premises from entering premises which have been a constant focus of antisocial behaviour.

Code of Conduct

A document setting out the standards of behaviour expected from all members of a group or organisation during meetings and when representing the group or organisation outside of meetings.

Code of Practice

A document setting out processes and procedures, which if followed should result in achieving a set objective in a proper manner. Often government or other monitoring organisations publish these. A landlord not following these codes of practice may have difficulty in justifying its actions.


A group of people (usually elected) who take decisions.

Common Housing Register (CHR)

A single register of applicants for housing that can be accessed by a number of landlords who have stock in an area. Usually applicants only have to complete one application form to join the register and are then eligible to receive offers from any of the landlords using the register.

Common Repairs

Repairs to parts of properties not solely owned by a social landlord or local authority, such as the roof or the secure entry system of a block of flats where some flats are owned by the RSL or local authority and others are owned by private individuals.


A group of people living in an area who share common interests and are served by common services and amenities. For example: schools, doctor surgery, shops.

Community Action Planning (CAP)

A process that brings together all the community groups that operate in a particular town or village to develop an action plan for improving their area.

Community Asset Transfer (CAT)

Where land or buildings are transferred from local authorities and other public bodies into the management or ownership of community groups.

Community Based Housing Association 

A housing association set up to acquire, improve, and develop housing. Such associations have a strong connection to the community, with tenants/community representatives on the governing body (Board).

Community Controlled Housing

Community Controlled Housing Voluntary organisations which are run by local people and work in discrete geographic areas providing and maintaining affordable housing and, more generally, improving the community and providing opportunities for local people.

Community Empowerment

A term that describes an aim to allow tenants and other community groups to influence decisions that affect their communities.

Community Land Trusts (CLT

Is a form of community-led housing set up and run by local people to develop and manage homes, as well as other assets important to that community, like community enterprises, food growing or work spaces.

Community Payback Orders (CPO)

Community Payback Orders (CPOs) are a sentence imposed by a criminal court after a conviction and are designed to make individuals pay back to their communities for the damage they have caused with their offending. Usually by doing unpaid work.

Community Planning

A framework which brings together public services and local communities to plan how services in the local areas should be planned and delivered.

Community Planning Partnership (CPP)

The group of organisations in each local authority area, which form a partnership to plan how local services will be delivered in their area. Tenants and residents organisations can be represented on this partnership group.

Company Limited by Guarantee

This is a company that does not have share capital, but is guaranteed by its members, who agree to pay a fixed amount in the event of the company’s liquidation.


A compulsory purchase order is an order that gives certain authorities (local authority/government/utility company/railway company) the legal power to buy your home or land from you. The authority must follow a legal process to obtain the CPO which may include a public inquiry. 


A form of caretaker in a housing development, usually multi-storey flats, who controls access to the block, monitors the block through the use of close circuit television, and may provide other services to the tenants.

Conflict of Interest

This happens when a member of staff or a management committee member is taking part in making a decision that may result in personal benefit.


Several organisations join together to work in partnership with other organisations but do not give up their individual identity.

Construction Design and Management Regulations

These regulations set rules for managing the health, safety, and welfare of construction projects. They are designed to ensure that for major construction works to your home, the people responsible for the works sensibly plan the work so the risks involved are managed from start to finish.


A process carried out by organisations and agencies to seek the views of service users and other interested parties.

Consultation provides an opportunity for people who will be affected by, or have an interest in, a proposal to help shape that proposal and/or to give their thoughts and views on a draft version of a proposal before taking a decision.

Consumer Price Index (CPI

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the official measure of inflation of consumer prices of the United Kingdom, which examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of approximately 700 consumer goods and services. This includes transportation, food, and medical care. The CPI calculates the average price increase as a percentage.

Consumer Standards

Apply to all registered landlords and set out what standards tenants and other stakeholders can expect and against which they will be held accountable.


An organisation that is not the landlord but provides a service to the landlord’s tenants.

Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)

COSLA is a representative body for local councils in Scotland. It exists to promote and protect the interests of the country's councils by providing a forum for discussion of matters of common concern. COSLA ascertains the views of member councils and communicates these to central government, other bodies and the public.

See Key Housing Organisations in Section 2 for more information.

Co-opt or Co-opting

A process which allows a new member to join a committee without following the usual method of election of such members. For example: normal election at an AGM

The process for co-opting will usually be set out in the organisation’s rules or constitution. Organisations may co-opt individuals for a specific purpose, to carry out a specific role, or due to their particular field of expertise.


With reference to the Co-operative and Communities Benefit Societies Act 2014, a co-operative does not include a society that carries its business to make profits mainly for the payment of interest, dividends or bonuses on money invested. A co-operative is an autonomous association of people united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.

See also Housing Co-op and Fully Mutual Co-op.


Where a variety of people and organisations come together to find a shared solution. In practice, it involves people who use services being consulted, included and working together from the start to the end of any project that affects them.

Credit Union 

A not-for-profit financial organisation that is owned and controlled by its members which provides savings accounts and loan facilities.

Criminal Antisocial Behaviour Orders (CRASBO)

A form of antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) which can be imposed as part of a criminal sentence by the Sheriff Court when someone is convicted of a criminal offence.


A range of definitions setting a standard against which something can be measured. For example: the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) has a set of rules for registering with them as a landlord. If the landlord does not meet the criteria it will fail to obtain registration.

Criteria of Recognition

The set of guidelines that landlords use to set out what a tenants’ association must do in order to be ‘recognised’ by the landlord as the official group for their area and then go on to receive funding and other support from the landlord.

Cyclical Maintenance

The process of regular planned maintenance of various fixtures, fittings and components in a house. For example: gas boilers. The landlord does not require a survey to make a decision that maintenance is required. It happens automatically at regular intervals.

Data Protection Act 2018

The Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Act controls how personal information is used by organisations, businesses, or the government.

An example is that a landlord generally cannot provide tenants’ addresses and other information to a private company.

Day-to-day Repair

Repairs carried out in a single house by a landlord at the request of an individual tenant. This can also be called a responsive repair or reactive repair.


Dayworks is a means by which a contractor is paid for specifically instructed work on the basis of the cost of labour, materials and plant plus a mark-up for overheads and profit. It is generally used when work cannot be priced in the normal way.


Money owed.


A tenant is moved temporarily from their home to allow repairs/improvements to take place.

Declaration of Interest

A person in a position to make a decision for a Registered Social Landlord or local authority who also has the ability to gain personally by that decision is said to have an interest. This applies equally if it is a close member of the person’s family.

This is not allowed under Section 15 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987. If the person could receive any payment from the decision then it is called pecuniary interest.


A court order which sets out the final decision of a court in a case. For example: an order allowing a landlord to evict a tenant, an order that one person pays money to another.

Defects Liability Period

A guarantee period during which a contractor is still responsible for the work to your house rather than the landlord.


In some Scottish civil court procedures, the individual or organisation against whom an action is raised.


This word is used in housing to describe the desire of applicants/potential tenants for housing, possibly in a specific area. 

If there are more houses available to let in an area, than applicants looking to live in that area, this is sometimes described as low-demand or hard to let. If there are lots of people seeking houses in an area, but houses do not become available to let very often, the area is often described as high-demand.

Demolition Order

If a local authority is concerned that your home is below the tolerable standard and cannot be brought back up to standard, it can issue you with a demolition order. A demolition order requires you to leave the property within 28 days of receiving the order, and to demolish the property within the next six weeks.


As an asset wears out or ages it becomes worth less money. Depreciation is the difference between the costs when new against the current value.

Desk Top Review

A review of existing published or on-line information to inform a proposal or policy.

Determination of a Contract

The ending of a contract.

Development Funding

Money given by the Scottish Government to assist with funding new house building or rehabilitation.

Development Support

Support for tenants’ organisations that assists them to effectively influence their landlords. Development support usually involves providing information, training, advice and practical assistance to support groups with the following: developing a constitution; organising meetings; planning for action; undertaking policy and service reviews; influencing policy development; carrying out tenant scrutiny.

Direct Labour Organisation (DLO)

A business unit or subsidiary of a landlord which carries out work to the housing stock – such as repairs. See also public works department.

Discounted Cash Flow

A method of valuing a project, company, or asset using the concepts of the time value of money and can be one of the factors used when calculating the price for houses or other assets being sold and acquired under the stock transfer process.

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

This is paid by local authorities to people who receive housing benefit but need extra help to pay their rent. For example, to mitigate the effects of the bedroom tax. DHP is funded by the Scottish Government.

Dispersal of Groups

A specific power contained within the Antisocial Behaviour Etc. (Scotland) Act 2004, which gives the Police in Scotland certain powers to deal with groups of two or more people who are behaving in an antisocial manner. It makes provision for the dispersal by constables of groups of two or more persons whose presence or behaviour is causing or is likely to cause alarm or distress to any members of the public in any public place. Failure to comply with a direction to disperse will be a criminal offence. These powers can only be exercised within a particular locality authorised by a senior police officer. The senior police officer will only make such an authorisation in a locality within which antisocial behaviour is a significant, persistent and serious problem.


The movement of a housing problem from one area to another because of action by the landlord. An example might be a landlord evicts an antisocial tenant and then rehouses him/her in another area where they may cause the same problems.

Disturbance Allowance

A payment sometimes made to a tenant by a landlord to cover any upset due to major works.

Disturbance Payments

Disturbance Payment is linked to Home Loss Payments under the Land Compensation (Scotland) Act 1973. A disturbance payment is compensation that can be claimed if a person is forced to move permanently from their home in certain circumstances. Disturbance payments are intended to cover the expenses actually incurred in moving. For example: removal costs, replacement/alterations to carpets/curtains/blinds, reconnection costs for utilities, new school uniforms etc. There is no fixed, nor restricted amount for this payment although any landlord can simply offer a fixed amount. 

Elected Members

A term that is used for Councillors, Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) and Member of the European Parliament (MEP). 

Employers in Voluntary Housing (EVH)

An organisation providing support for the governing bodies of housing associations in all aspects of their role as employers.

See Key Housing Organisations in Section 2 for more information.


A term for local authorities who do not have any housing stock to manage but still have a duty to enable (or support) other landlords to provide housing in their areas.

Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH)

The Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) aims to improve the energy efficiency of social housing in Scotland. It will help to reduce energy consumption, fuel poverty, and the emission of greenhouse gases.

Energy Savings Trust (EST)

An organisation that brings forward schemes to help residents keep their energy bills manageable.

Environmental Improvements

Improvements to the areas controlled by landlords in their estates such as planting shrubbery or installing car parking spaces.

Equality Act

The Equality Act 2010 became law in October, 2010. It replaced previous legislation, such as the Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The Act provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all. 

It prohibits discrimination based on a number of “protected characteristics”:

  • Age;
  • Disability;
  • Gender reassignment;
  • Marriage and civil partnership;
  • Pregnancy and maternity;
  • Race;
  • Religion or belief;
  • Sex;
  • Sexual orientation.

It provides Britain with a discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)

An Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) involves assessing the impact of new or revised policies, practices or services against the requirements of the public sector equality duty. The duty requires all Scottish public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations. 

It covers people in respect of all aspects of equality (age, disability, sex, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender reassignment and pregnancy and maternity). It helps to ensure the needs of people are taken into account during the development and implementation of a new policy or service or when a change is made to a current policy or service. 

Estate Inspections

Estate inspections (or walkabouts) are joint inspections of a local area with members of tenants and residents groups, housing staff and representatives from other of other organisations, agencies or services who provide a service in the community. The aim of these inspections is to identify issues and find joint solutions to address them.

Ethnic Minority 

An ethnic minority is a group within a community which has a different national or cultural tradition from the majority of the population.


The process of taking a tenant’s home from them against their will. Landlords have to follow specific legal procedures, either via the sheriff court or the First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber before they can evict a tenant.

Executive Directors

A member of a board of directors who is also an officer of the organisation.


Money spent on housing and related services.

Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM)

A meeting called for a specific purpose outwith the usual cycle of meetings. The term is usually used where the group would ordinarily hold an annual general meeting (AGM) but where an issue arises that requires the input of the entire membership and is too serious or urgent to wait until the next AGM.


A term most commonly associated with the provision of services connected to the management and maintenance of the common parts of lands/buildings owned by two or more persons, which can include the RSL, and used to any extent for residential purposes. It may involve the RSL providing and instructing repairs to common parts of a tenement. For example: the roof/common close/common garden.

Fair Rent

A fair rent can apply to accommodation in the RSL and private rented sector which was let before 2 January 1989 without a resident landlord. A rent officer will set a rent level based on a range of information about the property. The rent officer’s determination can be challenged by application to First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber.

Feasibility Study

A study to investigate the facts and estimate what may happen if a course of action is undertaken, e.g. examination of the result that might be expected if houses are transferred.

Federal Structures

Are groups of Registered Social Landlords and other non-registered subsidiaries which come together to deliver a range of housing and other services.

Within the structure each of the subsidiary organisations continue to operate independently, with their own management teams and boards of directors, however, there is one parent (lead) company that has overall legal control over the subsidiary organisations. The parent must be a Registered Social Landlord.


A group of groups or bodies coming together to work together to promote things of common interest. For example: Tenants Federation.

Feu Superior

An organisation or person who retains an interest in land although it has no direct ownership of the land. The Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 abolished all the remaining aspects of the feudal system as at 28th November 2004.

Financial Year

A financial year is a period of 12 months, used by government, businesses, and other organisations to calculate their budgets, profits, and losses. Many local authorities and Registered Social Landlords use the period from 1 April in one year until 31 March in the next year as their financial year. This is important to tenants because local authorities and Registered Social Landlords plan, organise and discuss their affairs based on financial years and not calendar years.

First-tier Tribunal

The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) is a judicial body which deals with determinations of rent or repair issues in private sector housing as well as assistance in exercising a landlord’s right of entry. It also deals with complaints against property factors failing to comply with their duties and the relevant code of conduct. 

Since December 2017, its jurisdiction was extended to include a wide variety of disputes within the private rented sector including eviction actions, payment claims by landlords against tenants and failures by landlords to comply with tenancy deposit regulations. It also now deals with complaints regarding failures of letting agents to comply with a code of practice. 

First Time Fix

Where a reactive repair is fully completed on the first visit as the contractor had all the necessary equipment. Also known as ‘Right first time’.

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN)

The police have powers to issue on-the-spot fines called fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to people who are behaving in an antisocial way and causing annoyance to others. They can only be issued to persons over the age of 16 and are designed to deal with low-level offences. The notices are intended to provide a swift and effective response to antisocial behaviour and reduce the burden on the courts of dealing with relatively minor cases.

Focus Group

A method of gaining opinion from a group of people that may have an issue in common. For example, a landlord may set up a focus group of tenants that have recently used its repairs service to find out how tenants feel about the service. Focus groups are not democratically elected.


A group of groups or organisations who come to work together on an area of common interest. For example: Tenants Forum or Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF).


The ideas, information, and principles that form the structure of an organisation or plan.

Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002 (FOI)

An Act of the Scottish Parliament that defines what information public sector organisations are obliged to provide on request. Registered Social Landlords will become bound by its provisions in November 2019. The Westminster Government passed the Freedom of Information Act for the United Kingdom in 2000.

Friendly Societies

Friendly societies are registered under either the Friendly Societies Act 1974 or the Friendly Societies Act 1992 and are incorporated entities and are registered for effecting and carrying out contracts of insurance. See also Industrial and Provident Society.

Fuel Poverty

A household is in fuel poverty if, in order to maintain a satisfactory heating level, it would be required to spend more than 10% of its income on all household fuel use. If over 20% of income is required, then this is termed as being in extreme fuel poverty.

Full Housing Benefit

If a tenant does not contribute towards the rent, but it is covered entirely by housing benefit, then they are said to be on full housing benefit.

Fully Mutual Co-op

A non-profit making housing organisation where only tenants or prospective tenants are allowed to be members and manage its affairs. They are registered with the Registrar of Friendly Societies at the Financial Services Authority (FHA) and with the Scottish Housing Regulator.

See also Co-operative and Housing Co-op. 


Bank or building society, which lends money to registered social landlords or local authorities.

Furnished Let

A property that it is either fully-furnished or part-furnished when it is let to a tenant. The furnishings form part of the tenancy agreement and the landlord is responsible for maintaining or replacing them.

Garden Maintenance Scheme

Local Government and Planning (Scotland) Act 1982 obliges local authorities to provide or make provision for gardening assistance to those requiring some help through old age, disability, or infirmity.

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

Mutually agreed European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force on 25 May 2018. It changed how businesses and public sector organisations handle the information of customers.

General Fund

The general fund is the account held by local authorities into which council tax is paid. It is used for all other council services that are not funded from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) such as roads, cleansing, education etc.

General Needs

Houses provided to meet the needs of families and other households without any special design features. Sometimes known as mainstream housing. 

Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF)

Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF) is the membership body for community-controlled housing associations and co-operatives in west central Scotland.

See Key Housing Organisations in Section 2 for more information. 


The process by which a management committee or board of directors manages a social landlord and makes sure it acts within the law and achieves the standards required by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR).

Governing Body

A group of people elected to control a Registered Social Landlord by its members. It can also be called management committee or board of directors.

Gross Annual Valuation

A value put on a house by an independent assessor reflecting its location and the amenities in the house. Some landlords use this as a basis for rent levels.

Group Structures

Are formed where a number of Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) merge to form one company, or where an RSL (the parent) sets up a number of subsidiary registered social landlords.


A set of instructions often provided to landlords to help them put new legislation into practice.


A document provided to tenants setting out all the rights and obligations, and the services and standards provided by the landlord.

Hard to Let

Properties are deemed hard to let when:

  • They are empty for a longer than expected period of time;
  • Demand for the property is low, or there is no demand;
  • Offers of the property made to applicants are refused (more often than other properties).

This can be due to the property’s type, size, condition or its location.

See also Demand and Low Letting Demand.

Health Check

A process that organisations can go through at the start of a review or scrutiny exercise to evaluate how well things are currently working. 

Health and Safety Executive (H&SE)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It seeks to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health. It is responsible for the encouragement, regulation, and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risks in Great Britain. As part of its work, HSE investigates industrial accidents, small and large.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

This is the government department responsible for collecting national taxation and VAT.


Legal definition: refers to “persons” and includes not only person who have no accommodation but also a person is defined as homeless, even if they have accommodation, if it would not be reasonable for them to continue to stay in it.

Homelessness Strategy

Local authorities must submit a strategy to the Scottish Government (usually as part of the Local Housing Strategy) demonstrating how they plan to prevent and alleviate homelessness in their areas.

Home Loss and Disturbance Payment

If you are forced to move out of your home, for example if it is going to be demolished, you may be entitled to receive a home loss and disturbance payment to compensate you for the inconvenience, disturbance, and stress arising from the loss of your home.

The home loss payment is a fixed amount set by law and is currently £1500. The disturbance payment levels are not fixed or limited but is designed to reimburse tenants for actual receipted costs incurred in the removal from the home. Many landlords offer a fixed amount but this is not the correct legal position.

NOTE: where a tenant entitled to home loss and disturbance payments owes any outstanding debt to the landlord, this may will be deducted from the payment.


A national company that matches social rented tenants looking to swap their home with another person in some other part of the country. See also Mutual Exchange.


An individual or family that occupies or wants to occupy a house.

Housing (Scotland) Act

An Act of the Scottish Parliament. It sets out the law regarding specific aspects of housing. An example is the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014. The date tells you when it was passed by parliament.

Housing Association

A not-for-profit landlord that is registered with and monitored by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) whose membership is open to tenants amongst others. There can be non-registered housing associations using the name; therefore, tenants need to ensure the housing association is registered with the SHR.

Housing Benefit

A social security benefit paid to assist a tenant to cover either the full or partial cost of the rent due. See also full housing benefit and pre-tenancy determination of rent.

NOTE: For tenants of working age, this will be included in the Universal Credit entitlements as introduced by the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

Housing Bill

A draft law introduced in the Scottish Parliament that reflects changes proposed to Scottish housing law. Once it is debated, amended and agreed by the Scottish Parliament and approved by the Queen, it becomes an Act and will then be called a Housing (Scotland) Act.

Housing Co-op

A not-for-profit landlord who is registered with and monitored by the Scottish Housing Regulator. It is very similar to a Housing Association, but it is managed either entirely or mainly by its tenants. Co-ops are also registered with the Registrar of Friendly Societies at the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

See also Fully Mutual Co-ops.

Housing Finance

Covers all income and expenditure on housing.

Housing Income

Housing income is made up of rents, service charges, subsidy and loans.

Housing Investment

Money spent on building new houses, rehabilitating old houses, improvements, or major repairs.

Housing Management

A wide term covering all the services a landlord provides to manage their stock and support their tenants.

Housing Needs

The difference between the existing number, type, and size of houses available and the level of demand from current and future households. This term could also apply to an individual’s housing needs. For example, when a family with three children needs a larger property.

Housing Partnership

A number of organisations and companies joining together to promote the regeneration of an area.

Housing Providers

Collective term including anyone who makes rented houses available in the market.

Housing Revenue Account (HRA)

This is a separate account within the General Fund of a local authority. The account into which all local authority tenants’ rent money is paid into. This money is then used to cover all the day-to-day expenditure on council housing. The HRA is ring-fenced and should not be used to pay for services that should come from the General Fund.

Human Rights 

Fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the United Kingdom (UK) is entitled to. These are defined in law by the Human Rights Act 1998. 

NOTE: Changes may be introduced due to the UK leaving the European Union, otherwise known as Brexit.


Work done to your property that gives it something it did not have before. For example, replacing single glazing with double glazing.

See also capital improvement programme.

Independent Tenant Adviser (ITA)

An external agency, independent of the landlord, employed during a major project (such as a transfer of ownership or creation of a partnership) to work on behalf of the tenants.

An ITA provides independent advice and assistance to ensure tenants understand the process and are supported to be fully involved in the decision-making process.

Industrial and Provident Society

On 1 August 2014 the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 consolidated and replaced the previous Industrial and Provident Society Acts. Societies registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965 before 1 August 2014, and those registered from that date forward, are all treated as societies under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. See Co-operative and Community Benefit Society.

Inflated Cash Flow

A financial plan, usually over 30 years, that takes account of future inflation. Every year a landlord must balance income and expenditure. Sometimes the landlord may borrow to cover any shortfall in income for short periods. An inflated cash flow, using budgets and life cycle costing, shows whether a landlord will remain financially sound over a period of time or go out of business.

Typically, a bank will use this before considering whether to grant a loan to a Registered Social landlord.


The roads, footpaths, street lighting, phone and internet cabling, and other services that are required to support a housing estate.


An order from a court instructing a person to stop doing something. For example, to stop causing a specified nuisance to a neighbour. See also Interim Interdict.

Interim Antisocial Behaviour Order (ASBO

A temporary ASBO granted pending a full investigation by the court can be used to provide quicker, more immediate, protection to victims of antisocial behaviour pending the grant of the full ASBO.

Interim Interdict

A temporary order from a court instructing a person to stop doing something.

For example, to stop causing a specified nuisance to a neighbour.

See also Interdict.


A communications system that links computers owned by the same people or company in different locations. This is common in local authorities and registered social landlords to allow staff access to internal information about the organisation.

Joint Tenancy

Where more than one person signs the tenancy agreement and everyone signing takes joint and several (or separate) responsibility for maintaining the tenancy.

Where a tenant wishes to add a joint tenant to the tenancy agreement:

  • The proposed joint tenant must have lived in the house as their only or principal home for the 12 months before the tenant applies to the landlord for them to become a joint tenant.
  • The 12-month period cannot begin unless the landlord has been informed that the person is living in the property as their only or principal home.

Judicial Review

Judicial review is the process by which a court reviews a decision, act or failure to act by a public body or other official decision maker. It is only available where other effective remedies have been exhausted and where there is a recognised ground of challenge.

Land Bank

Land owned by a landlord which may be used to build new housing at some time in the future.


An individual or organisation who lets a property to someone on the basis of a legal agreement.

Lay Person

A lay person is someone who may serve on a committee or board, who is not trained, qualified, or experienced in a particular subject or activity.


A tenancy agreement setting out the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant.


A law that has been agreed and passed by Parliament.

Lettable Standard

The standard that houses must meet before they are allocated to a new tenant.

Lettable Standard Repair

Repairs that are carried out while a property is empty to bring it up to the lettable standard.

Liaison Officer

A person who links groups or organisations to achieve a common aim.

Life Cycle

Every component in a house will wear out (or reach the end of its useful life) and need replaced. The time between installation and being worn out is its life cycle.

Life Cycle Costing 

Where the replacement of a component is costed and programmed over a period of time – usually 30 years.

Limited Company

A limited company is a type of business structure where the company has a legal identity of its own, separate from its owners (shareholders) and its managers (directors).

Loan Charges

The money that is paid back by a landlord on what it has borrowed from a bank or building society.

Local Authority

A local council that owns and manages public services, including council houses. In Scotland some local authorities have transferred the ownership of their houses to an alternative landlord.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

The amount of housing benefit that is payable to tenants in the private rented sector. It is calculated using rent levels across a geographical area, and varies across Scotland. For example: the LHA for Ayrshire is lower than the LHA for Edinburgh. If the rent charged is higher than the LHA, the tenant has to pay the difference.

Local Housing Company

Usually set up by a local authority to buy local authority houses under a stock transfer proposal; the local authority retains a minority interest in the company. Tenants are offered places on the board of directors.

Local Housing Strategy (LHS)

A statutory document produced by all local authorities that assesses the housing need in their area and sets out the actions they will carry out in order to meet that need. This covers all tenures not just rented houses.

Low Cost Home Ownership (LCHO)

Houses built and sold at a price that is lower than the local market value.

Low Letting Demand

Where the number of tenants seeking rented housing in an area is less than the number of houses available for rent. This can be due to reasons such as the type, size, condition or location of properties available.

See also Demand and Hard to Let.

Mainstream Housing

Any house not adapted to meet a specific need of a tenant. Sometimes known as general needs housing.

Major Component Replacement

The main parts which make up a house and require renewal from time to time. This includes heating systems, kitchen units, electrical rewiring, windows and outside doors etc. Also known as Capital Investment Programme.

Managed Payment to Landlord (MPTL)

Under Universal credit (UC), MPTL is rent paid direct to the landlord. This can be requested by the landlord automatically if arrears are more than 8 weeks.

Management Committee

A group of people elected to control a Registered Social Landlord by its members. Can also be called board of directors or governing body.

Management Transfer

The transfer of a tenant between houses owned by the same landlord that is outside the normal rules, usually on social grounds. A management transfer is granted at the discretion of the landlord.


A document signed by an individual giving another person authority to do something on his or her behalf.

Market Rent

A rent set by a private landlord based on the maximum amount it can receive by offering the house on the open market.


When someone helps two or more people to find their own solution to a dispute or disagreement.

Memoranda and Articles of Association

All companies must have these. It sets out what the company can do and the principles of its workings as a company.

Mid-market Rent

Mid-market rent homes charge rents that are higher than the social rented sector but lower than the market rent for a particular area.


A formal record of a meeting that includes who was in attendance, what was discussed and any actions that were agreed. Minutes should be agreed as accurate at the start of the following meeting.

Missive of Let

A written legal agreement between a landlord and a tenant regarding the occupancy of a house which sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties. Sometimes used as an alternative term for a tenancy agreement.


A template or an example version. For example: the Scottish Government provides a Model Scottish Secure Tenancy Agreement. This can be used by all landlords saving them from starting from scratch, especially as there will be many similarities in each landlord’s agreement.


The bringing of existing property components up to current day standards.


A loan used to buy a house or flat. It is usually secured on the property. This means that if you default on the loan (don’t pay) the lender can repossess the property.


A loan used to buy a house or flat. It is secured on the property. This means that if you default on the loan (don’t pay) that the lender can repossess the property.

Mutual Exchange

Where a tenant agrees to swap their home with another tenant. Mutual exchanges require landlord approval and can happen between tenants throughout the United Kingdom.

National Home Energy Rating (NHER)

A standard that a house is measured against to identify if it is well insulated and will be economical to heat.

Neighbourhood Management

The activities carried out by a Housing Officer to keep the housing stock and the local area tidy and safe. Also known as estate management.

New Tenant Pack

Information and advice pack which may be provided by some landlords to new tenants that includes details such as: officer contact information, services provided, support agency information, landlord partner organisations etc.

Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPB)

A body which has a role in the processes of national government, but is not a government department or part of one, and which accordingly operates to a greater or lesser extent at arm’s length from Ministers.

Non-Executive Directors

Directors of a Registered Social Landlord who are not members of staff of that organisation. See also Executive Directors.

Non-profit Distributing

Registered Social Landlords are often described in this way. It means that no one involved in the organisation is allowed to take any income beyond staff salaries and expenses. Extra income in any one year can be kept in reserve for the future or spent to build or improve houses. See also Not-for-profit.

Non-traditional Housing

Houses that were not made using traditional construction material – timber frames, brick walls, and tiled roofs. Instead they are often made of concrete and steel. These materials can be difficult and/or expensive to bring up to the housing quality standard and often have low National Home Energy Ratings (NHER).


Registered Social Landlords are often described in this way. It means that no one involved in the organisation is allowed to take any income beyond staff salaries and expenses. Extra income in any one year can be kept in reserve for the future or spent to build or improve houses. See also Non-profit Distribution.

Notice of Proceedings

Formal notice of the landlord’s intention to raise a court action for eviction in the Sheriff Court.


Targets a landlord or tenants’ organisation wants to achieve. See also Aims.

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)

Is the independent regulator and registrar of Scottish charities.


An official appointed to investigate individuals' complaints against a company or organisation, especially a public authority.

Open Market Acquisition Scheme

Through the Open Market Acquisition Scheme, grants are available from the Scottish Government for Councils to buy houses for sale and make them available for rent to applicants on their waiting list. This is often called a ‘buy-back’ scheme.

Options Appraisal

A landlord considering the best way forward for a particular service develops a number of proposals taking into account a range of factors and assumptions. Each of these proposals (or options) is then assessed against established criteria to identify which one they will take forward.


Measurable item that is produced as a result of action and can be used to evaluate progress (e.g. production of a document by an agreed timescale).

Outstanding Debt

A landlord decides to sell its housing stock for a price less than the current debt on the houses. The difference between the price paid and the size of the debt is the outstanding debt.

Sometimes called Residual Debt.


Where a household are living in a property that has fewer bedrooms than they need for the size of their household.

Owner Occupier

A person who owns the property that they live in.


A group of tenant associations coming together to form one organisation, that will promote things of common interest to influence the housing policy makers and service providers. Sometimes called a Federation or Forum.

Parenting Order

These orders were introduced in the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004. They require parents to do something to change or improve their child’s anti-social behaviour and/or their own behaviour. Often orders require parents to attend counselling or parenting classes.


The body of politicians that debates and agrees legislation for Scotland and the UK. There is a Scottish Parliament and a Westminster Parliament with different responsibilities.

Participatory Budgeting (PB)

Where the control of community budgets is passed from the council or registered social landlord to be managed by local groups. Local groups are then invited to bid for funding from this budget using a democratic process that allows local people to decide how the money should be shared out.

Participatory Budgeting can also be used to enable local people to decide on how parts of the housing service budget should be spent in their area.

Partial Stock Transfer

This is when a local authority decides to retain ownership of some of its houses and sell others to one or more alternative landlords.

Particular Needs

An individual or household might have a need that requires a particular solution. For example, someone in a wheelchair has a particular need for an adapted property.

Partners in Participation

A document produced by the Scottish Office in 1999 containing a national strategy and definition for tenant participation. 


Organisations working together towards a common aim. For example, the local authority and its tenants set up a local housing company with both having votes on the management committee.

Peer Review Process

A system used by landlords to compare the way in which a service is delivered with similar organisations with a view to adopting best practice. This is also called bench-marking.


When a project is divided into two or more parts, each part is called a phase.

Place Making

A term that is used to describe the process of making communities attractive places to live and work that people choose to locate themselves in. It involves thinking about roads, footpaths, houses, shops, amenities, greenspaces etc.

Planned Maintenance

The landlord will survey parts of the housing stock and decide which components need replaced in all or some of the houses. This is then included in the budget and tenders sought from contractors to carry out the work. For example, the rewiring of a group of houses would be planned maintenance.

Planning Permission

Permission given by a local authority to allow a landlord, individual or developer to build or carry out major alterations that affect the internal or external structure of buildings.

Positive Action in Housing (PAH)

An organisation with the aim of promoting racial equality and the wider ethos of equal opportunities policies and practices in Scottish housing.

See also Key Housing Organisations in Section 2.

Pre-tenancy Determination of Rent

This is a rental valuation by the independent rent officer provided to a private tenant before they take up a tenancy. This lets the tenant know how much of the rent will be covered by Housing Benefit.

Private Finance Initiative (PFI)

A private finance initiative (PFI) is a way of financing public sector projects through the private sector. PFIs alleviate the government and taxpayers of the immediate burden of coming up with the capital for these projects.

Under a private finance initiative, the private company handles the up-front costs instead of the government. The project is then leased to the public, and the government authority makes annual payments to the private company. These contracts are typically given to construction firms and can last as long as 30 years or more.

Private Residential Tenancy (PRT)

Introduced on 1 December 2017, the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) became the new standard tenancy for all new tenancies in the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

It was introduced by the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016. 

The government has provided a model PRT agreement which can be used by landlords which sets out the terms and conditions of the tenancy, including: the rent; the length of the tenancy; repair responsibilities; the amount and reason for the deposit; when the landlord can enter the property; and any conditions and restrictions on the use of the property.

Procurement Procedure

The way that a landlord buys services and goods from an outside agency. (e.g. building contractor).

Property Type

There are many different property types that make up a landlord’s housing stock such as:

Bungalow – a single-storey house.

Common entry (or tenement) flats – single-storey flats that share a main entry, with each flat accessed off of a common landing.

Detached house – a house that doesn’t have any shared walls with other properties.

Semi-detached house – a house that shares a dividing wall with one neighbour.

End terraced house – a house at the end of a row of houses which are joined together.

Mid terraced house – a house that shares dividing walls with neighbours on either side.

4-in-a-block (or cottage) flat – single-storey flats with own front door.

Multi-storey blocks – flats that share a main entry, with flats accessed off of a common landing, where there are more than four floors.

Town House – a single house built over more than two floors.

Protected Characteristics

Equality Act 2010 sets out nine protected characteristics against which landlords should not discriminate when developing policies or delivering services: age; sex; race; disability; pregnancy; marital status; sexual orientation; gender reassignment; religious background.

Prudential Borrowing

The set of rules governing local authority borrowing which requires the borrowing to be affordable and within the limits set by the local authority based on its existing debt and available (non HRA) revenue to pay back the borrowing.

See also Borrowing Consent.

Public Enquiry

A review of a decision of a local authority held in public and chaired by an independent person appointed by the First Minister of the Scottish Government.

Public Expenditure

Money spent by a government, local authority, or any other public organisation.

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance covers the cost of claims made by members of the public for incidents that occur in connection with business activities, e.g. it will insure landlords against compensation payments and legal costs if a member of the public (tenant, supplier or passer-by) is injured or their property is damaged. Some tenant and community organisations may also have public liability insurance depending on the type of services, activities or events they deliver.

Public Sector Borrowing Requirement (PSBR)

The amount of money government and public bodies requires to borrow to help finance national and local public services, including local authority housing elsewhere. PSBR is technically the budget gap between what the government gets in income and what it is committed to spend.

Public Works Department (PWD)

A business unit or subsidiary of a landlord, which carries out work to the houses, such as repairs. See also Direct Labour Organisation.


The term used in certain Scottish civil court actions to describe the individual or organisation who has raised the action against another individual or organisation. 


A way of measuring how well something works by using soft information such as some quality or characteristic rather than on some quantity or measured value e.g. Tenant’s quotes/feedback.


A way of measuring how well something works by using hard information such as numbers or statistics.


The rules governing boards or committees of organisations should state how many members of the committee must attend its meetings in order to make any valid decisions. The committee is quorate if at least that number is present.


The number of people who must attend a committee meeting before it can make any valid decisions.

Random Survey

A survey of tenants where there is no selection of who to survey. See also sample survey and satisfaction survey.

Reactive Repairs

Repairs carried out by a landlord at the request of an individual tenant or tenants.  These can also be called responsive repairs or day-to-day repairs.

Recovery Action

A term sometimes used to describe the court process a landlord goes through to obtain an order to repossess a house and to evict a tenant.

Recovery of possession

If a landlord is successful in the recovery action, a court order is granted which enables the landlord to evict the tenant and the landlord gets back possession of the property.


Large-scale repair and replacement of property components all at the same time.


A wide-ranging improvement of a housing estate that involves housing and other factors that contributes to a better life for the residents.

Regeneration Capital Grant Fund

This is delivered in partnership with CoSLA and local government, and supports locally developed regeneration projects that involve local communities, helping to support and create jobs and build sustainable communities.

Regional Networks

Registered Tenants Organisations from across the country are represented on one of four networks which have formal links with the Scottish Government and are involved in the development of housing policy and have access to information that they are responsible for sharing with their local federations, forums or panels.


This defines the process of a landlord being on a list of organisations that will comply with the standards, rules and regulations set by another organisation. Usually involves being monitored by the other organisation – the most common is a registered social landlord which is registered with Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) and is monitored by them.

Registered Rent

This is the fair rent for a regulated tenancy determined by a rent officer or rent assessment committee and then registered by the Rent Register.

RegisteredSocial Landlord (RSL)

An independent landlord (including housing associations, housing cooperatives, Abbeyfield societies and co-ownership societies) registered with the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR), which owns and manages houses on a not-for-profit basis. It must be established to provide housing and that it must operate in Scotland.

Registered Tenants Organisation (RTO

Introduced as part of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, Registered Tenants Organisations (RTOs) are formally elected groups of tenants, who meet the criteria set out in Scottish Government guidance.

Groups apply to their landlord to become an RTO. Where groups represent tenants of several landlords, RTO applications can be submitted to all relevant landlords.

Registered Social Landlords are required to keep a public record of RTOs.

Registrar of Friendly Societies

The person who is responsible for maintaining the standards of Industrial and Provident Societies.

Regulated Tenancy

A type of tenancy between a tenant and a private landlord entered into before January 1989. Regulated tenancies were the most commonly used tenancies for people renting privately before 1989. There are very few people who have regulated tenancies now.


These are prescriptive rules that an organisation must follow to comply with best practice or the law. E.g. Health and Safety regulations set the rules that must be followed to keep people safe.


Large-scale improvement of a building to bring it up to a good standard of repair. Also known as refurbishment or modernisation.

Related Organisations

Two organisations not related by their constitutions but by something they do. For example, a local authority landlord and a Registered Social Landlord that have stock in the same area both deliver housing to meet need, but do not share a constitution – they are independent of each other.


The process of preparing an existing house for letting, ensuring it meets the lettable standard and finding a tenant for that house. See also Allocations.

Rent Arrears

The amount of rent money a tenant has not paid to the landlord on time and which remains unpaid. Sometimes just called arrears.

Rent Assessment Committee

Now abolished, this was an independent committee, normally of three people: a lawyer, a professional surveyor and a lay person who determined the maximum rent for a regulated tenancy. They heard appeals against the rent set by a rent officer. Their jurisdiction transferred to the Private Rented Housing Panel in 2007 and since 2016 now part of the First Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). 

Rent Officer

A government official employed by Rent Service Scotland who determines and registers rents for houses let on regulated tenancies, sets the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) for a local area and adjudicates on rent increases for tenants with a private residential tenancy.

Rent Restructuring

The process of looking at the existing rent structure and identifying any changes that might be needed to make sure the different rents charged are fair.

Rent Structure

The system by which different rents are charged for different properties owned by a landlord. Often it is worked out based on house size and type, but might also include area, level of amenity and quality of the environment.


A legal process whereby a lender takes back legal ownership of a property because the borrower has not paid the instalments on the loan. This term is also used for evictions by landlords.

Residents Association

Another term for a tenants and residents association.

Residual Debt

Where a landlord decides to sell its housing stock for a price less than the current debt on the houses, the difference between the price paid and the size of the debt is called the residual debt. Sometimes called outstanding debt.

Resource Planning Assumptions (RPA)

The amount of funding the Scottish Government will award each Local Authority to help them deliver their Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP).

Responsive Repairs

Repairs carried out in a single house by a landlord at the request of an individual tenant. This can also be called a reactive repair or day-to-day repair.

Restriction of Liberty Orders (RLO)

A sentence (or part of a sentence) imposed by a criminal court after conviction. RLOs confine an offender to a particular place for up to 12 hours per day, or restrict him or her from a particular place. Also known as ‘tagging’.

Retail Price Index (RPI)

The Retail Price Index (RPI) is currently used to index various prices and incomes including tax allowances, state benefits, pensions and index-linked gilts.

In housing terms, it is commonly used as a baseline to determine proposals for annual rent increases.

Revenue Expenditure

The spending of money to meet day-to-day costs such as reactive repairs, housing staff and loan charges – the opposite of capital expenditure.

Right First Time

A repair standard, measured by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR), where a repair was fully completed at the first visit because the contractor had all the necessary equipment. See also First-time Fix.

Right to a Written Lease

Landlords under various types of current tenancy in Scotland (including Scottish secure, short Scottish secure, private residential) have a legal obligation to provide the tenant with a written tenancy agreement.

Right to Compensation for Improvements

Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 and regulations made under the powers contained in that Act, Scottish secure tenants and short Scottish secure tenants are entitled in specific circumstances, to receive compensation from their landlord for certain improvements which they have made to their home on, or after, 30 September 2002, which were done with the prior permission of their landlord.

If someone was a secure tenant and carried out improvements to their home before 30 September 2002 they will continue to have rights to compensation under the old scheme.

Right to Manage

A scheme defined in law that sets rules to allow a group of secure tenants to set up a tenant management cooperative to manage their homes. Requires the approval and consent of the landlord.

Right to Repair

A scheme defined in law that sets rules to allow a tenant with a Scottish Secure Tenancy (SST) or a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy (SSTS) to order their own repair and the landlord pays for it. The repair must fall within a specified list of repairs, the tenant requires to follow a specific process and follow specific time limits and the repair must cost less than £350 and the contractor must be on an approved list held by the landlord.

Right to Succession to Tenancies

The rules for succession to tenancies after the death of a tenant are based on law and on what is written in the tenancy agreement. An adult who is part of a household at the time of the tenant’s death may have a right to have the tenancy transferred to him/her.

Different rules apply to different types of tenancies. 

From November 2019, to qualify for succession to a Scottish Secure Tenancy, the person (unless they are the spouse or civil partner of the deceased or a joint tenant with the deceased) must have lived in the house as their only or principal home for a minimum of 12 months and the landlord must have been notified that the person has been living in the house for that period.


Where money can only be spent on a particular service. For example, the Housing Revenue Account cannot be used to pay for education or waste management services as it is ring-fenced for spending on housing services.

Risk Assessment

Where you identify potential risks in a workplace and take action to remove or reduce the level of that risk.

Risk Management

Process of identifying and managing potential risks to the delivery of a project or service.


Every Registered Social Landlord is governed by a set of rules that sets out how they will conduct their affairs, elect its management committee etc. A tenants’ organisation has a set of rules which can also be known as its constitution.

Sample Survey

A survey of a selected number of tenants designed to give a result that mirrors what would have been obtained if all tenants had been surveyed. See also random survey and satisfaction survey.

Satisfaction Survey

A survey of a sample of tenants undertaken by the landlord to see what they think of the services the landlord provides. See also random surveys and sample survey.

Schedule of Rates (SORs)

A document that sets out repair details for every component in a house, with a cost against each item. Landlords use it to pay contractors for reactive repairs. See also Bill of Quantities.

Scotland’s Housing Network (SHN)

Scotland's Housing Network is a consortium of local authority and housing association landlords working together to drive up performance, meet the demands of Best Value and deliver quality services through benchmarking, peer review, good practice exchange and information sharing.

See Key Housing Organisations in Section 2 for more information.

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO)

A Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (or SCIO as it is more commonly known) is an optional legal form for registered Scottish charities. A SCIO provides a high degree of protection against liability and is able to enter into contracts, employ staff, incur debts, own property, sue and be sued. It is administered and regulated solely by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (‘OSCR’).

Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)

An organisation made up of Registered Social Landlords that collects information from its members and then puts forward a collective point of view.

See the key housing organisations in Section 2 for more detailed information.

Scottish Government

The devolved Government for Scotland with responsibility for housing matters in Scotland.

Scottish Housing Associations Resources for Education (SHARE)

A not-for-profit organisation whose primary aim is to provide training for the members and staff of registered social landlords. It is commonly known as SHARE.

See Key Housing Organisations in Section 2 for more information. 

Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR)

The independent regulator of social housing services. They are responsible for assessing and reporting on how all landlords are performing (including local authority landlords), and the financial wellbeing and standard of governance of RSLs. They can intervene to secure improvements where necessary.

Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS)

The SHQS was introduced in 2004 and is the main way to measure housing quality in the social rented sector. It is the minimum standard which all social rented properties must meet.

Scottish LandlordRegister

Local authorities have a duty to compile a register of private landlords in their area and make it available for public inspection. The Scottish Government provides the centralised IT system, used by landlords to apply for registration and by local authorities to administer the regime. The central platform also supports the public search facility. Each local authority has access to their own part of the register, that is the landlords who operate within their area.

Scottish Parliament

The body of Scottish elected politicians that debates and agrees housing legislation for Scotland.

The Westminster Parliament deals with national legislation.

Scottish Secure Tenancy (SST)

Introduced on 30 September 2002, 1 December 2017, the Scottish Secure Tenancy replaced the secure tenancy and became the new standard tenancy for all new tenancies in the social rented sector. The government have provided a model SST agreement which can be used by local authority or registered social landlords when creating the tenancy setting out the rules that allow a tenant to occupy the house and describing the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and landlord.

See also Short Scottish Secure Tenancy.

Scottish Social Housing Charter (SSHC)

The Scottish Social Housing Charter was introduced by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 and came into force in April 2012. Updated in 2017, the charter sets out the standards and outcomes that all social landlords should be achieving for their customers when performing their housing activities.


Scrutiny is a process where tenants and residents are given greater influence and ability to hold their landlords to account, by exercising more power over the business decisions, governance and performance of their landlord.

The scrutiny process includes tenants, residents and other customers carrying out a review of policies, procedures and practices to assess what works well and what could be improved.

Section 5 Referrals

Section 5 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 places a statutory duty on registered social landlords to provide accommodation to homeless people referred to them by the local authority.


When a lender lends a substantial amount of money to someone to buy a property, they want a guarantee that the borrower will pay. The borrower usually has to grant a security over the property, which means that if they do not pay the loan instalments then the lender is entitled to repossess the property and sell it to repay the loan.


Also known as bankruptcy – it is a formal legal process which takes all your assets and transfers them to a trustee so that he/she can use them to pay some of your debt.

Service Charge

A landlord sometimes offers a specific service to some of its tenants and levies a separate charge on top of their rents to cover the cost – this is called a service charge. For example, tenants living in a block of flats may be charged a service charge to cover cleaning of the common areas.

Service Level Agreements

An agreement between a service provider and a service user setting down the standard of service to be provided.

Shared Equity

Where a loan is provided for part of the value of your home and you take out a mortgage for the rest. When you sell the home, the equity loan has to be repaid based on the sale value – if the loan was for 20% of the purchase price 20% of the re-sale value should be repaid.

Shared Ownership

Where a person buys part of a house and rents the remainder from the property developer or landlord.

Sheltered Housing

A house designed for people who want to live independently but require extra support. There are lots of different types of sheltered housing. Some have a 24-hour alarm system and a warden who is on-site for part of the day.


The name for the Judge who sits in the sheriff court.

Sheriff Court

A Sheriff Court is the principal local civil and criminal court in Scotland, with exclusive jurisdiction over all civil cases with a monetary value up to £100,000. There are currently sheriff courts in 39 different locations in Scotland. Each has jurisdiction over a certain defined geographical area. 

Registered social landlords seeking to recover a property (evict a tenant) are required to present the case to the Sheriff at the local Sheriff Court.

Short Scottish Secure Tenancy (SSST)

A short form of the Scottish Secure Tenancy which can only be used in a limited a range of circumstances by the landlord, these include where prospective tenants have previously been evicted for antisocial behaviour; where prospective tenants or others who will reside with the tenant have been subject to an antisocial behaviour order or have previously behaved in an antisocial manner; creation of temporary lettings; and properties leased by the landlord from another body. The SSST will initially run for a fixed period which can be either six months or 12 months depending on the reason used for its creation. These periods can be continued although any continuation in respect of SSSTs which have been created owing to previous antisocial behaviour cannot extend the length of the SSST beyond 18 months. Tenants in SSSTs have limited protection from eviction and have no rights of succession. 

Short Scottish Secure Tenant

A person who has signed a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy (SSST) agreement.

Single Seller Survey

Introduced in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 – sellers of houses arrange for a single survey to be carried out on their home before marketing it. The survey is made available to all possible buyers.


A term in Scots Law for a court order temporarily stopping or suspending proceedings.

Social Housing

Housing at an affordable rent provided by local authorities and Registered Social Landlords.

Social Inclusion

A wide-ranging term to cover all the things that are required to help people to play a full part in society.

Social Inclusion Partnership (SIP)

A range of organisations and local people who work together to deliver all the services that are required to enable an individual to play an active part in society.

Space Standards

A measure of the size of rooms a landlord should plan to deliver when designing a new house.

Special General Meeting (SGM)

A meeting held because the members of the organisation wish to discuss, and reach a decision about, an urgent matter that cannot wait for the annual general meeting.


A written standard that a landlord requires a contractor to reach when delivering a service or carrying out work.


A person who has an interest in what the landlord is doing. This applies to tenants, residents, and staff amongst others.


A measure which a landlord should aim to reach when delivering its services to tenants.

Standing Orders

A set of rules that control how an organisations landlord, or other organisations, will conduct its meetings.

Start Up Grant

A grant provided by a landlord to assist a new tenants and residents group when they first set up to purchase the equipment or services that they need to develop.


A word used to describe something set down in an Act of Parliament that a landlord must do.

For example, a Registered Social Landlord has a statutory duty to keep a house wind and watertight, a duty set down in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001. 

Steering Group

A short-term working group, set up to oversee the delivery of a specific task or a strategy. Steering Groups usually disband once the task is completed or the strategy has been implemented.


Houses owned by a landlord.

Stock Condition Survey (SCS)

A survey of the condition of houses. This not only estimates disrepair, it also judges the future remaining life of major components and provides a reliable estimate of costs across the housing stock.

Usually a one in ten sample survey is enough for this purpose.

Stock Transfer

A process by which an existing landlord sells (transfers ownership of) a number of houses occupied by tenants to another Registered Social Landlord or another alternative landlord.

Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP)

Sets out the local authority’s priorities for developing new affordable homes in their area to support the Local Housing Strategy. These are submitted to the Scottish Government to agree a 3-year programme of development funding.


A plan for moving towards an agreed goal or aim.

Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)

A tool that can be used to support business planning or strategy development within an organisation. Users consider how each of the categories will affect its prospects and can plan accordingly. Sometimes known as a SWOT analysis.


A tenant can let all or part of their home to another person (who becomes known as a “sub-tenant”) for agreed periods of time. In most tenancies, including SSTs and PRTs the tenant must obtain prior permission from the landlord. 

From November 2019, in a request to sub-let an SST, the tenant must have lived in the property for a minimum of 12 months before a sublet can be approved.


A company that is owned and controlled by another (parent) company. A subsidiary company cannot be a registered social landlord if the parent company is not a Registered Social Landlord.


Money given to a housing provider to assist with the cost of building new, or improving existing, housing.


The right to pass the tenancy of a house over to someone else after the death of the tenant. Rights to succession are set out in law for SSTs and PRTs and can also be outlined in a tenant’s tenancy agreement.

With effect from November 2019, to qualify for succession to an SST, the person must have lived in the house as their only or principal home for a minimum of 12 months prior to the death of the tenant and the landlord must have been notified that the person has been living in the house for that period.

NOTE: There is no qualifying period for succession for the tenant’s spouse, civil partner or joint tenant.



(a) A document setting out the particulars of a civil court case against a person who is required to respond to it 


(b) A document given or sent to a person which requires them to attend court on a specific date either as party to case or as a witness (in this situation it can also be called a “citation”).

Supported Accommodation

A property that is linked to support staff (either present in the building or via a call system) who provide support to the tenant to help them to manage their home.

Sustainable Housing

Housing which is built and maintained in an energy efficient way to reduce the impact on the environment, and which is built to a high standard to ensure it will last for a long time.

Task Group

A group of people brought together for a short time to carry out one specific job.


A general term describing someone (a tenant) leasing or renting property or lands (for example, a house) from another person (a ‘landlord’) in exchange for an agreed payment (‘rent’) and usually for an greed period of time.

Tenancy Agreement

A written legal agreement between a landlord and a tenant regarding the occupancy of a house which sets out the rights and responsibilities of both parties. Sometimes called Missive of Let or Lease.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

All private landlords and letting agents taking tenancy deposits in Scotland are required to safeguard them with a government approved tenancy deposit scheme. The aim of the scheme is to protect both tenants and landlords by:

Ensuring tenants’ deposits are returned to them at the end of the lease, unless there is damage to the property or rent arrears owed.

Providing a free dispute resolution scheme where there are arguments about what deductions should be made from the deposit when the tenancy ends. 

A tenancy deposit is a payment taken by a landlord at the commencement of the tenancy as a security against any damage caused to the property by the tenant or a security for any unpaid rent at the termination of the tenancy.

Tenant Participation

A process providing ongoing opportunities for tenants to influence the decisions taken by their landlords before those decisions are made.

Tenant Participation Officer (TPO)

A member of staff employed by a landlord to promote, and support the delivery of, tenant participation.

Tenant Participation Strategy

Section 53 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 places a duty on local authorities and registered social landlords to produce tenant participation strategies. These strategies promote the influence of tenants in landlords’ services and show how the landlord will obtain and take account of tenants’ views.

Tenant Participation Structures

The way that landlords and tenants’ organisations are set up to ensure tenants can influence their landlord.

Tenant and Residents Association

A group of people who live in the same area who work together to represent the views of all tenants and/or home owners in their area to help make their neighbourhood a better place to live. 

See also Registered Tenants Organisation.

Tenanted Market Value

A method of valuing houses that have sitting tenants and must continue to be made available for renting in future.

Tenants Handbook

A guidebook for tenants that explains the services tenants can expect from their landlord.

Tenants Information Service (TIS)

TIS is a national member organisation that provides information, training, development support and advice to tenants and landlords throughout Scotland. 

See Key Housing Organisations in Section 2 for more detailed information.

Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS)

TPAS is an organisation that provides information, training and advice to tenants and landlords throughout Scotland. 

See Key Housing Organisations in Section 2 for more detailed information.

Tenant Scrutiny Framework

A process that sets out all the ways an organisation will support tenants to be involved in scrutinising their services and procedures.


An offer made by a contractor setting out their proposed costs for carrying out work on behalf of a landlord. Tenders are usually sought during a procurement process and will be examined and scored according to a variety of pre-determined criteria, normally linked to quality and cost. 


The relationship between who owns a property and who lives in it. The most common tenure types are: rental from a local authority or registered social landlord; rental from a private landlord and owner occupation.

Thematic Enquiry

A detailed examination of all the available evidence relating to a particular topic.

Sometimes carried out by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) to look at practice by a number of landlords on the same service or topic.

Third Sector

Groups that are not operated by the government or local authorities (public sector) or aiming to make profits for shareholders (private sector) – charities, community groups and social enterprises operate in the third sector.


The length of time to carry out a task or number of tasks.


A list of actions and details of when each of the actions will be completed.

(In) Today’s Money

This means a figure for the future is being quoted before inflation is taken into account. For example, if rents rise at the rate of inflation, the average rent will still be the same value as it is now in 5 years’ time, “in today’s money”.

Tolerable Standard

A basic minimum quality standard set down in law which every property must meet to make it fit for a person to live in. See also Below the Tolerable Standard (BTS).

Transfer Agreement

Legal agreement between a local authority and the prospective new landlord which sets out the terms and conditions of a housing stock transfer.

Transfer 1

The process of a tenant moving from a house owned by a landlord to another house owned by the same landlord.

Transfer 2

The process of changing ownership from one landlord organisation to another. Sometimes referred to as a transfer of engagement.

Transfer List

A list of existing tenants of one landlord who are looking to move to another property owned by the same landlord.

Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations (TUPE)

This refers to legislation that is designed to protect employees if the business in which they are employed changes hands. Its effect is to move employees and any liabilities associated with them from the old employer to the new employer by operation of law. As an example, it may protect the continuing employment rights of staff when one landlord decides to transfer its houses to another landlord. 


Where business and financial activities are done in an open way without secrets, so that people can trust that they are fair and honest.


The government body responsible for managing the financial affairs of the UK.

Treasury Management Policy

This is a written policy explaining where a registered social landlord will borrow money from and where it will invest any temporary money it has.

Trickle Transfers

The transfer of houses to another landlord one at a time – usually when the house becomes vacant.

Trustee 1

A person appointed by the court to administer someone’s assets and repay their debts.

Trustee 2

Trustees have the overall legal responsibility for a charity. The law describes charity trustees as ‘the persons having the general control and management of the administration of a charity.

UK Government

The Prime Minister and Cabinet in Westminster who are responsible for non-devolved matters – matters that affect the whole of the United Kingdom – such as immigration, Foreign Policy or Defence.

Under Occupation

Where a household has one or more bedrooms than they require.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is a new single benefit for working-age people, being introduced in stages across the country as part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012. UC will merge six benefits into one payment.

UC includes: income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, housing benefit, child tax credit and working tax credit.

It is expected that UC will be in place across the whole country by 2023.

NOTE: Although UC is rolling out across the country at different times, a new claim to the above benefits, or certain changes in circumstances, will trigger a claim to Universal Credit.


The value of a property set by a surveyor.

Valuation – Open Market

The likely price a house would sell at if offered with vacant possession to the public.

Valuation – Tenanted Market Value

The suggested price a house would sell at where it can only to be used for letting to tenants.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Value Added Tax, or VAT, in the United Kingdom is a general, broadly-based consumption tax assessed on the value added to goods and services. It applies more or less to all goods and services that are bought and sold for use or consumption in the United Kingdom.

Value for Money (VFM)

A term used to measure the quality and performance of services provided against the cost of delivering them.


A process of checking the previous record of a prospective tenant before letting them a house.


A house that is empty.


Activities carried out by a person of his/her own free will and who receives no payment for the activity. They may receive expenses to cover travel and carers costs. Membership of a management committee of a registered social landlord or a tenants’ organisation is usually voluntary.

Waiting List

A list of individuals who have completed an application form and are looking to be offered a home by a landlord. See also Common Housing Register (CHR).


Opportunity for tenants and others to “walkabout” their communities with housing staff and representatives of other organisations, agencies or services to highlight issues or concerns and work together to develop solutions and agree priorities for expenditure.

Welfare Reform

Is the collective name for a number of changes that have been made to the benefit (or social security) system under the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

White Paper

A policy document that sets out the government’s proposals for future legislation. The document often includes a draft Bill and provides the opportunity for the government to collect views on their proposals and make amendments before presenting the Bill to Parliament.


A learning tool where a group of people come together to hear information about a particular topic and then take part in discussions, activities and/or question and answer sessions to find out more about the topic.

Key Housing Organisations

The Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO

The Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO) is the representative body for local authority housing in Scotland. The chief housing officer from each council is invited to regular meetings to discuss key housing issues affecting local authorities.

Its aims are:

  • Promoting the interests of Scottish local housing authorities;
  • Promoting the sharing of information and good practice within Scottish local housing; authorities and between local authorities and other agencies;
  • Promoting positive and productive relationships between Scottish local housing authorities and other agencies.

You can contact ALACHO by visiting

Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH)

This is the professional body for everybody that is interested in housing.

The Institute ensures that its members have reached a standard of competence, by means of education, examination and continual professional development.

The CIH researches and produces good practice guidance for housing managers.

The Institute also provides training to all that have an interest in increasing their knowledge in housing matters, including tenants.

Finally, the CIH lobbies government to ensure that it is aware of housing issues when considering introducing new or implementing existing legislation.

You can contact the Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland by telephoning 0131 225 4544 or email

Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA)

Most local authorities in Scotland are members of CoSLA. Policy is developed through leaders (Council) meetings and there are a number of forums, although no specific forum on housing exists.

CoSLA is the forum for local authorities to discuss issues, and the views of the authorities will be represented to Government and the public through CoSLA. By bringing together the local authorities and presenting a common voice, CoSLA seeks to promote and protect the interests of councils.

CoSLA has among its aims, increasing the role and influence of local government within the communities they serve, and to increase the control of local government over its own affairs. It has produced a number of papers on housing from a council’s perspective.

You can contact CoSLA by telephoning 0131 474 9200 or email

Employers in Voluntary Housing (EVH)

EVH is a unique organisation, providing unlimited support to the governing bodies of not for profit and voluntary organisations in all aspects of their employer role. It is a fully volunteer-led organisation. They provide training for board members and staff; health & safety services; and human resource and recruitment services.

EVH has membership from over 150 organisations in all parts of Scotland, and in the last decade our membership has grown to include a wide range of social employers throughout the social enterprise and not-for-profit sectors.

EVH can be contacted by telephoning 0141 352 7435 or emailing

Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF)

GWSF is the membership body for community-controlled housing associations (CCHAs) and co-operatives in west central Scotland. Its main purpose is to promote, represent and campaign on behalf of CCHAs and to share information and best practice.

HouseMark Scotland

HouseMark is a membership organisation that provides solutions and opportunities through data, insight and knowledge exchange to drive performance improvements and add value to businesses across the housing sector.

You can contact HouseMark by telephoning 0131 221 7758 

Positive Action in Housing

This organisation has a mission to promote through a national training programme, racial equality and the wider ethos of equal opportunities policies and practices within the Scottish housing movement.

It aims to help tenants’ organisations consider race equality issues in the work of tenants’ organisations, in particular to play a key role in challenging racial harassment of black tenants. Positive Action in Housing offers tenants training programmes to achieve its mission and aims in housing.

You can contact Positive Action in Housing by telephoning 0141 353 2220 or emailing

Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)

SFHA is the representative body of housing associations (HAs) and co-operatives in Scotland. Nearly 200 HAs or co-ops subscribe to SFHA. The SFHA is governed by a Council of 22 who are elected from representatives of the member HAs and co-ops.

The SFHA has established the following aims:

“To contribute to the provision of high quality, affordable housing and housing related services, and to the creation of sustainable communities, by promoting, representing and providing services to housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland, and campaigning on their behalf.”


  • Consultancy: SFHA will provide assistance on a range of areas, e.g. developing housing management policies.
  • Policy Development: SFHA works with its members to produce a common approach to issues. The common approach is then represented to Communities Scotland or other agencies, as the views of the movement.
  • Standards: SFHA produces its own standards for HAs to follow. These cover good practice in housing management, governance, model rules etc. Communities Scotland monitors associations’ performance against these standards.
  • Equality: The promotion of equality of opportunity in all aspects of housing association activity is an important concern for SFHA.
  • Training and Events: SFHA provides a range of training services and conferences.

You can contact Scottish Federation of Housing Associations by telephoning 0131 556 5777 or emailing

Scottish Parliament and Government

The Scottish Parliament is responsible for housing in Scotland. The Parliament is made of Members called MSPs who debate and agree legislation in relation to housing.

The Scottish Government is made up of Ministers and Civil Servants who are responsible for bringing forward housing legislation and implementing the parliament’s policies. 

The paid officials and civil servants, work with Scottish Ministers to improve the wellbeing of Scotland for its people. Their values are:

  • Integrity and honesty;
  • Objectivity;
  • Political impartiality; and
  • Fairness.

You can contact the Scottish Parliament by telephoning 0131 348 5000 or 0845 278 1999 or emailing

You can contact the Scottish Government by telephoning on 0131 556 8400 or emailing

Scotland’s Housing Network (SHN)

Set up in 1995, the Scotland’s Housing Network is a consortium of Local Authority and housing association landlords working together to drive up performance, meet the demands of Best Value and deliver quality services by means of benchmarking, self-assessment, good practice exchange and information sharing.

You can contact the SHN by telephoning 0131 466 3710 or emailing

Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR)

SHR are the independent regulator of RSLs and local authority housing services in Scotland. They were established on 1 April 2011 under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010. They have one statutory objective, to:

“Safeguard and promote the interests of current and future tenants of social landlords, people who are or may become homeless, and people who use housing services provided by registered social landlords (RSLs) and local authorities”. 

They regulate social landlords to protect the interests of people who receive services from them. They do this by assessing and reporting on:

  • How social landlords are performing their housing services;
  • RSLs’ financial wellbeing; and 
  • RSLs’ standards of governance.

We intervene to secure improvements where we need to.

We also keep a Directory of Social Landlords in Scotland, which holds important information about each landlord and how you can contact them.

You can contact the SHR by telephoning 0141 242 5642 or emailing


SHARE is the learning and development organisation for Scotland’s housing associations and co-operatives.

Through a combination of accredited courses, training, events and organisational development, SHARE equips staff and Committee/Board members with the knowledge and skills to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. 

You can contact SHARE by telephoning 0141 370 6877 or emailing

Shelter Scotland 

Shelter Scotland is a charitable organisation that helps people who find themselves in bad housing conditions or homeless through the provision of advice support and legal services.

Shelter Scotland also has a campaigning arm and works to tackle the root causes of bad housing by lobbying government and local authorities for new laws and policies, and more investment, to improve the lives of homeless and badly-housed people.

They work in conjunction with the housing sector to promote good practice, publish reports, and deliver professional training.

You can contact the Shelter Scotland helpline on 0808 800 4444. For non-urgent enquiries you can use their website:

Tenants Information Service (TIS)

TIS is the leading organisation inspiring innovative Tenant Participation practice in Scotland. As a national membership organisation, we promote excellence in tenant and resident involvement, offering independent advice, support, and training. We support tenants and landlords to work together to improve housing services and standards. Our services include providing:

  • Information and advice about housing issues;
  • Consultation services to support national and local organisations engage with residents throughout review and development of their polices and services;
  • Training courses covering a wide range of topics aimed at supporting professional and personal development; 
  • Seminars, consultation events and conferences;
  • Independent Tenant Advice; 
  • Development support to help tenants’ organisations become more effective and influential; and
  • Scrutiny training, support and accreditation. 

Our aim is simple, we want to help change social housing in Scotland for the better.

You can contact TIS by telephoning 0141 248 1242 or emailing

Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS)

The Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) exists to promote good and effective relationships between tenant and landlord organisations in Scotland. TPAS is a membership organisation, and social enterprise run by its membership through its Board of Management. TPAS works with tenants and landlords across Scotland, in rural, urban and island communities. 

TPAS offers a range of services including:

  • Scrutiny training and support;
  • Conferences and events;
  • Training for all across housing and engagement topics;
  • Accreditation – a measure of excellence across all participation activities;
  • Independent tenant advice; and
  • Supporting tenants and landlords to improve their participation.

You can contact TPAS by telephoning 0141 552 3633 or emailing



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