Operation of the Homeless Persons Legislation in Scotland: 2013-14

This bulletin provides information on homelessness applications, assessments and outcomes to 31 March 2014. It includes information on the characteristics of applicant households, local authority assessments and the action taken in respect of cases that were concluded. Snapshot data on households in temporary accommodation at 31 March 2014 are also presented.


[1] The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 extended councils' duties to non-priority homeless and the Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003 set the longer term objective of phasing out the distinction between priority and non-priority homeless. See Summary of Homelessness Legislation for more details.

[2] This development has been supported and promoted by the Scottish Government through the creation and funding of joint local authority housing options hubs in which councils have shared experiences, lessons learned and developed training for staff while developing and implementing their housing options/ homelessness prevention services. Further information on the development of housing options services in Scottish local authorities is available at Homelessness Prevention.

[3] In light of the abolition of the priority need test, the reason for priority need was not required from 31st December 2012. However, following consultation with the homelessness statistics user group, it was agreed that data on these characteristics would continue to be collected. The reasons for this were comparability with previous data and because it provided additional information on those using homelessness services which was not available elsewhere.

[4] To be classed as a repeat homelessness assessment the applicant household must (1) be assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness in both applications; (2) the previous case must have been closed within 12 months of the current assessment and ; (3) the adults and family circumstances also need to be the same in both applications.

[5] The local authorities are Argyll & Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, Glasgow City, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Inverclyde and Scottish Borders.

[6] At time of writing, social sector letting information for 2013-14 had not been published. The estimate of the number of social lets (excluding transfer lets) available during 2013-14 is estimated from the number of local authority lets recorded by councils in their 2012-13 lettings return. Housing association lets for 2013-14 are estimated from the Scottish Housing Regulator's APSR return for 2012-13. This does not include a breakdown of lets by local authority area and so lets are pro-rated by the RSL stock in each LA area. New build completions data for 2013-14 is used to estimate lets arising from new build properties in the social sector.

[7] Small numbers in column B of Table 11 may indicate that the local authorities were unable to put in place the necessary IT changes in order to report this information. As a result, the local authority may have been carrying out a housing support assessment under the regulations but not reported this in the HL1 dataset.

[8] Copies of the HL2 return and guidance notes are available at HL2 Form and Guidance

[9] This is the Department for Work and Pension's under-occupancy penalty and more generally referred to as 'The Bedroom Tax'. Under this measure, a household in receipt of housing benefit - and which is deemed to be under occupying a local authority or housing association house - has their housing benefit reduced by a percentage of their eligible rent.

[10] Updated Evidence On The Number Of Households Affected By The Housing Benefit Under Occupation Penalty

[11] http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Housing-Regeneration/HSfS/NewBuild

[12] If before 31st December 2012.


Email: Andrew Waugh or Ian Morton

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