Scottish Social Housing Charter

The Scottish Social Housing Charter as approved by the Scottish Parliament on 14 March 2012.

2. Charter outcomes and standards

The customer/landlord relationship

1: Equalities

Social landlords perform all aspects of their housing services so that:

  • every tenant and other customer has their individual needs recognised, is treated fairly and with respect, and receives fair access to housing and housing services.

This outcome describes what social landlords, by complying with equalities legislation, should achieve for all tenants and other customers regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. It includes landlords' responsibility for finding ways of understanding the needs of different customers and delivering services that recognise and meet these needs.

2: Communication

Social landlords manage their businesses so that:

  • tenants and other customers find it easy to communicate with their landlord and get the information they need about their landlord, how and why it makes decisions and the services it provides.

This outcome covers all aspects of landlords' communication with tenants and other customers. It is not just about how clearly and effectively a landlord gives information to those who want it. It also covers making it easy for tenants and other customers to make complaints and provide feedback on services, using that information to improve services and performance, and letting people know what they have done in response to complaints and feedback. It does not require landlords to provide legally protected, personal or commercial information.

3: Participation

Social landlords manage their businesses so that:

  • tenants and other customers find it easy to participate in and influence their landlord's decisions at a level they feel comfortable with.

This outcome describes what landlords should achieve by meeting their statutory duties on tenant participation. It covers how social landlords gather and take account of the views and priorities of their tenants; how they shape their services to reflect these views; and how they help tenants and other customers to become more capable of involvement.

Housing quality and maintenance

4: Quality of housing

Social landlords manage their businesses so that:

  • tenants' homes, as a minimum, meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard ( SHQS) by April 2015 and continue to meet it thereafter, and when they are allocated, are always clean, tidy and in a good state of repair.

This standard describes what landlords should be achieving in all their properties. It covers all properties that social landlords let, unless a particular property does not have to meet part of the standard. Beyond SHQS, landlords should be looking for cost-effective ways of achieving higher energy-efficiency standards for their properties, to provide warmer homes for their tenants and help to meet climate change targets.

During this Charter's lifetime, the Scottish Government will consult on higher standards. If adopted, these new standards will form part of the next Charter.

5: Repairs, maintenance and improvements

Social landlords manage their businesses so that:

  • tenants' homes are well maintained, with repairs and improvements carried out when required, and tenants are given reasonable choices about when work is done.

This outcome describes how landlords should meet their statutory duties on repairs and provide repairs, maintenance and improvement services that safeguard the value of their assets and take account of the wishes and preferences of their tenants. This could include setting repair priorities and timescales; setting repair standards such as getting repairs done right, on time, first time; and assessing tenant satisfaction with the quality of the services they receive.

Neighbourhood and community

6: Estate management, anti-social behaviour, neighbour nuisance and tenancy disputes

Social landlords, working in partnership with other agencies, help to ensure that:

  • tenants and other customers live in well-maintained neighbourhoods where they feel safe.

This outcome covers a range of actions that social landlords can take on their own and in partnership with others. It covers action to enforce tenancy conditions on estate management and neighbour nuisance, to resolve neighbour disputes, and to arrange or provide tenancy support where this is needed. It also covers the role of landlords in working with others to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Access to housing and support

7, 8 and 9: Housing options

Social landlords work together to ensure that:

  • people looking for housing get information that helps them make informed choices and decisions about the range of housing options available to them
  • tenants and people on housing lists can review their housing options.

Social landlords ensure that:

  • people at risk of losing their homes get advice on preventing homelessness.

These outcomes cover landlords' duties to provide information to people looking for housing and advice for those at risk of becoming homeless. These duties include helping tenants and people on housing lists to review their options to move within the social housing sector or to another sector.

10: Access to social housing

Social landlords ensure that:

  • people looking for housing find it easy to apply for the widest choice of social housing available and get the information they need on how the landlord allocates homes and their prospects of being housed.

This outcome covers what social landlords can do to make it easy for people to apply for the widest choice of social housing that is available and suitable and that meets their needs. It includes actions that social landlords can take on their own and in partnership with others, for example through Common Housing Registers or mutual exchange schemes, or through local information and advice schemes.

Outcome 11: Tenancy sustainment

Social landlords ensure that:

  • tenants get the information they need on how to obtain support to remain in their home; and ensure suitable support is available, including services provided directly by the landlord and by other organisations.

This outcome covers how landlords can help tenants who may need support to maintain their tenancy. This includes tenants who may be at risk of falling into arrears with their rent, and tenants who may need their home adapted to cope with age, disability, or caring responsibilities.

12: Homeless people

Local councils perform their duties on homelessness so that:

  • homeless people get prompt and easy access to help and advice; are provided with suitable, good-quality temporary or emergency accommodation when this is needed; and are offered continuing support to help them get and keep the home they are entitled to.

This outcome describes what councils should achieve by meeting their statutory duties to homeless people.

Getting good value from rents and service charges

13: Value for money

Social landlords manage all aspects of their businesses so that:

  • tenants, owners and other customers receive services that provide continually improving value for the rent and other charges they pay.

This standard covers the efficient and effective management of services. It includes minimising the time houses are empty; managing arrears and all resources effectively; controlling costs; getting value out of contracts; and giving better value for money by increasing the quality of services with minimum extra cost to tenants, owners and other customers.

14 and 15: Rents and service charges

Social landlords set rents and service charges in consultation with their tenants and other customers so that:

  • a balance is struck between the level of services provided, the cost of the services, and how far current and prospective tenants and other customers can afford them
  • tenants get clear information on how rent and other money is spent, including any details of individual items of expenditure above thresholds agreed between landlords and tenants.

These outcomes reflect a landlord's legal duty to consult tenants about rent setting; the importance of taking account of what current and prospective tenants and other customers are likely to be able to afford; and the importance that many tenants place on being able to find out how their money is spent. Each landlord must decide, in discussion with tenants and other customers, whether to publish information about expenditure above a particular level, and in what form and detail.
What matters is that discussions take place and the decisions made reflect the views of tenants and other customers.

Other customers

16: Gypsies/Travellers

Local councils and social landlords with responsibility for managing sites for Gypsies/Travellers should manage the sites so that:

  • sites are well maintained and managed.

This outcome applies only to those councils and other social landlords that are responsible for managing these sites.

Scottish Government
March 2012


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