Tenancy sustainment in Scotland
By: Shelter Scotland Published: October 2009
This report outlines the results of a survey of councils and registered social landlords (RSLs) on the extent to which social landlords measure tenancy sustainment and what that shows us.
- Tenancy sustainment in Scotland (PDF 182.2 KB)
- With three years until the 2012 homelessness commitment has to be met, prevention of homelessness is becoming an ever higher priority as a complementary approach to increasing housing supply.
- Tenancy sustainment was highlighted as a key part of local authority homelessness prevention activity in 2007 research.
- Audit Scotland and the Scottish Housing Regulator have both introduced a tenancy sustainment performance indicator to this year’s annual statistical returns. However, they have chosen to use different measures meaning that comparison between RSLs and councils is not possible.
- Of the 28 organisations that responded, almost all rated the importance of tenancy sustainment at nine or 10 out of 10. This is not surprising as those that responded are most likely to see tenancy sustainment as a priority already.
- Three quarters of responding organisations measure tenancy sustainment, with the number of tenants in place after 12 months the most common form of measurement.
- Some landlords also measure tenancy sustainment for specific types of tenants – most commonly households allocated a property following a homeless application and young tenants aged 16-24. However, it is important that landlords are able to recognise that groups of tenants other than young people and homeless households can be at risk of tenancy failure.
- The tenancy sustainment rate in this survey was 86 per cent, a commendable level, but likely to reflect the best practice in the sector rather than average practice.
- 14 per cent of tenancies starting in 2007-08 had been terminated at the time of this survey, with the majority of terminations occurring six to 12 months after the tenancy began. Although most terminations occur during this time period, it is important to remember that tenancies will still fail beyond the 12 month mark. Landlords need to be able to identify other triggers of tenancy failure besides time, such as relationship breakdown and loss of employment.
- The importance of understanding the reasons behind tenancy terminations was highlighted by survey respondents, as well as the need to distinguish between terminations for positive reasons, such as relocating with a new job or moving in with a partner, and negative reasons, such as eviction and abandonment.