Minimum period for applications to remain in force - suspensions under section 20B of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987: statutory guidance

Statutory guidance on the category of suspensions and the legal requirements social landlords must comply with.

16. Circumstances Where A Landlord May Not Impose A Suspension for A Period of Time

16.1 A landlord cannot use the same evidence more than once to impose a suspension under section 20B, when it relates to the same application for housing. When evidence is used to impose a suspension under section 20B, the same evidence cannot be used again to impose another suspension (for example when the period of the first suspension has ended). This applies to evidence relating to an applicant or someone it is proposed will live with the applicant[9]. This does not stop a further suspension being imposed based on different evidence.

16.2 While the restriction at paragraph 16.1 applies to suspensions imposed under section 20B of the 1987 Act, it would not be good practice to impose any suspension, whether within the statutory scheme or the landlord’s non-statutory suspensions policy, based on evidence that has been used on a previous occasion to impose a suspension in relation to the same application.

16.3 A local authority may not impose a suspension under section 20B where it has a duty to secure accommodation for an applicant who is homeless.[10]

16.4 This restriction only applies when the applicant makes the application for housing. If a homeless applicant is made a suitable offer of housing they can then be treated in the same way as others on the housing list. For example, in such circumstances if the landlord’s allocation/suspensions policy allows suspension then the applicant could be suspended in terms of that policy if they refuse reasonable offers of housing.

16.5 Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) also have duties under section 5 of the 2001 Act to house statutory homeless people. RSLs have to meet section 5 requests from local authorities unless there are good reasons not to. The restriction discussed in paragraph 16.3 does not apply to RSLs however they will want to consider whether it is appropriate to suspend an applicant who has been assessed as homeless.



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