Social housing allocations legal framework: statutory guidance for social landlords

Sets out the legal framework which social landlords must work within when developing their allocations policies.

10. Taking Property Ownership Into Account

10.1 Section 5 of the 2014 Act removes the previous prohibition on taking ownership of property into account in allocating social housing. Landlords may now take into account the ownership and/or value of heritable property owned by the person applying for housing, by a person who normally lives with the applicant, or by a person who it is proposed will live with the applicant.

10.2 Heritable property will include land, as well as anything built on land, and can be property currently owned, or that has previously been owned, in Scotland, the rest of the UK or abroad. This means that if the applicant, or a current or future member of the household, currently owns land or property or previously owned land or property, this can be taken into account when deciding on an applicant's priority for the allocation of social housing. This applies to existing tenants as well as new applicants.

10.3 As a result, landlords can consider property ownership as part of assessing an applicant's housing needs and their circumstances. For example, a landlord could give a lower level of priority or number of points to an applicant who owns their own home.

10.4 However landlords may not take property ownership into account in the following circumstances:

  • in cases where the property has not been let, but the owner cannot secure entry to the property. This could, for example, be where it is not safe to enter the property due to severe structural faults or where there are squatters living in the property;
  • where it is probable that occupying the property will lead to abuse from someone currently living in the property;
  • where it is probable that occupying the property will lead to abuse from someone who previously resided with the applicant whether in that property or elsewhere;
  • where occupation of the property may endanger the health of the occupants and there are no reasonable steps that can be taken by the applicant to prevent that danger.

10.5 Landlords do not need to use this flexibility if they do not wish to consider property ownership as a factor in allocating housing. They can take the circumstances of each case into account and may decide to allocate social housing to an applicant who owns property in some circumstances. For example a landlord could allocate housing if an applicant owned property but it did not meet their needs and they required to be re-housed urgently.

10.6 Section 8 of the 2014 Act amends the 2001 Act to give landlords the ability to grant a short Scottish secure tenancy (short SST) to homeowners, to allow their housing needs to be met by a temporary let. Further information on the circumstances in which landlords can grant short SSTs to homeowners, and the processes for doing so, is available in the guidance on The Short Scottish Secure Tenancy for Homeowners.



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