Applying for social housing

If you're suspended from the housing list

In some cases, the council or housing association can suspend you from the housing list. This means you will not be offered a home until the suspension is lifted.

If you’re suspended, the council or housing association must explain why and tell you when the suspension will end. This could be after a certain amount of time, or when you meet certain conditions.

Reasons you can be suspended

You can be suspended if you’ve had problems where you live or in a previous tenancy. For example, if:

  • you've been accused of antisocial behaviour

  • you've abandoned or neglected a property

  • you've been in rent arrears or other tenancy-related debt

You could also be suspended if you've already been offered housing and refused it without a good reason.

When a suspension for debt must be lifted

You cannot be suspended for rent arrears or other debt if:

  • you owe less than 1 month’s charges

  • you’ve paid the debt back in full

  • you’ve agreed to a repayment plan with your landlord, you’ve been making payments for at least 3 months and you’re continuing to make payments

  • the debt is not related to your tenancy, such as council tax arrears

  • you’re not liable for the debt – for example, if there are rent arrears on a property you lived in, but you were not on the tenancy agreement

Challenging a suspension

If you think you've been suspended mistakenly or that a suspension should be lifted, you have the right to appeal.

You could be offered a short Scottish secure tenancy as an alternative to being suspended. This means you'll get a home, but you might have to meet certain conditions, and it's easier for the council or housing association to evict you.

For help with challenging a suspension, contact a Shelter Scotland adviser.

Last updated: 19 January 2023

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