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.

1. Introduction

1.1 This guidance sets out the legal framework which social landlords must work within when developing their allocation policies. Those provisions not already in force will take effect from 1st May 2019. More information can be found in The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 (Commencement No. 8, Savings, Transitional and Supplemental Provisions) Order 2018.

1.2 Sections 19 to 21 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 ('the 1987 Act'), set out the legal framework for social housing lists and allocations[1]. For ease of reference, the legislation as amended up to and including The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 ('the 2014 Act') is set out in Annex A.

1.3 All social landlords must comply with this legislation when managing their housing lists and allocating housing. Within these legal constraints, which include the legislation on homelessness in Part II of the 1987 Act, landlords have discretion to develop allocation policies in line with local priorities[2]. More information can be found in the Scottish Government's Social Housing Allocations - a practice guide.

1.4 Landlords should however build flexibility into their allocation policies. There will sometimes be exceptional cases where a landlord considers it appropriate to make an allocation to an applicant who may not fit with the criteria in the allocations policy it has set out. By including an 'exceptional circumstances' clause in the allocations policy, landlords will give themselves the flexibility (within the legal constraints) to award a tenancy in exceptional circumstances.

1.5 It is not possible to predict all the exceptional circumstances that may arise but these could include circumstances such as:

  • where a landlord makes a management transfer or special let outside the normal allocations policy;
  • where a landlord makes an exceptional allocation to someone who does not qualify to succeed to a tenancy - for example a carer who has given up their previous home; or
  • where the landlord makes an allocation, outwith its normal allocation system, to a household being resettled in the UK - for example through an official Resettlement Programme.



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