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.

6. What Is A Suspension?

6.1 In general a suspension is where an applicant for housing – whether that is a new applicant, a person already on a housing list, or an existing tenant applying to move home – has to wait for a period of time before being considered, or further considered, for an offer of housing. Landlords cannot suspend persons from the housing list but can suspend persons from receiving offers of housing.

6.2 To be suspended under section 20B an applicant must have been accepted onto a housing list and a decision taken at the point of application that they will not be eligible for an offer of housing until a specified period of time has elapsed. This means that suspensions under section 20B only apply to new applications for housing. Section 20B(1) provides that the circumstance being relied upon must have applied before the making of the application. In most cases a suspension issued under section 20B will be made at the point of application.

6.3 This is different from suspending a person who is already on a housing list for a period of time not linked to the date of their application, or for an indefinite period, for example suspending a transfer applicant until rent arrears are addressed. In these cases section 20B does not apply and the landlord will consider any suspensions under its existing suspensions/allocations policy.

6.4 Suspensions do not include cases where:

  • The applicant has been removed from the housing list (for example following a review of the list);
  • There are delays in assessing an application while information is being collected; or
  • An application has been deferred because the applicant’s housing need is in the future rather than the present (many landlords allow applicants to apply for housing on the basis that they are not currently seeking housing but will be doing so in the future).



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