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.

2.  Consultation and Publication of Allocation Policies

2.1 Landlords have a duty to consult on and set out how they will prioritise the allocation of houses, transfers and exchanges and to publish these rules in an allocation policy[3]. Landlords are required to consult the following groups before making or altering their allocation policies[4]:

  • applicants on the housing list;
  • their tenants;
  • registered tenant organisations;
  • such other persons as landlords see fit.

2.2 The 2014 Act also requires landlords to prepare and publish a report on the consultation on its allocation policy. It states that social landlords may publish the report on the consultation 'in any such manner as it thinks fit (and may in particular publish a joint report with any other social landlord'. Landlords will already be reporting to their Board or council committee on the outcome of the review and any changes being made to their allocations policy. This could form the basis of the report or they could include a report on the consultation as part of the allocation policy itself. Landlords may also wish to consider including how they will report on the review and what format that will take, as part of the allocations review.

2.3 Allocation systems vary considerably and landlords will need to consider what forms of consultation will work best in their circumstances. For example the best way to consult a large number of applicants on a common housing register may be different to the best way to work with a limited number of registered tenant organisations. The law does not specify the extent or type of consultation to be used. It is good practice to use a variety of consultation methods such as online focus groups and paper surveys. Landlords should also ensure that they take into account the needs of specific groups such as disabled people and people with learning and support needs. There is more information on consultation practice in the Scottish Government's Guide to Successful Tenant Participation. The Scottish Social Housing Charter also sets out outcomes and standards for landlords on communicating with tenants and other customers.

2.4 Allocation policies should be reviewed regularly in conjunction with applicants, tenants, registered tenants organisations and other appropriate people or organisations.

2.5 A landlord must have regard to the following documents before making or altering its allocation policies:

  • any local housing strategy for its area; and
  • any guidance published by the Scottish Ministers.

2.6 Landlords should make sure that their allocation policy is written in plain English and is available to all for scrutiny at their offices. A free summary of the allocation policy must be available to any member of the public who asks for one. It is also good practice for landlords to make their full allocation policy easily available and many landlords do so via their website.



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