Allocation policies

Subject to the statutory restrictions, local authorities and registered social landlords are free to exercise discretion in the framing of allocation policies.

This content applies to Scotland

Priority categories

Local authorities and registered social landlords can define certain priority categories in their allocation policies. These must include categories of applicant to be given 'reasonable preference' under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 [1] but can also include other categories of applicant, such as those applicants with special medical needs. Allocation policies are not universal and they may differ between different local authorities and different registered social landlords. Anyone who is on a housing list, or thinking of applying to a housing list, should check the allocations policy of that local authority or registered social landlord to gain more information on how their application will be handled.

Most local authorities and registered social landlords in Scotland use a points system to help allocate houses to people who are on the housing list. The number of points awarded depend on how many criteria in the priority categories that the applicant fulfils.

The points system can also be used by local authorities and registered social landlords to satisfy the 'reasonable preference' test. This means that someone who would not be seen as having priority for a house can be awarded enough points under a number of headings to be given a 'reasonable preference' when it comes to allocation.

Examples of points categories

The following are common examples of points categories. This list is not exhaustive and that not every categories mentioned here will be used by every local authorities or registered social landlord:

Date

  • Points may be awarded for the length of time that a waiting list applicant has been on the waiting list, or the length of time that a transfer applicant has been a tenant in their present house. [2]

Medical

  • Points may be awarded to applicants with particular medical problems.

Overcrowding

  • Points may be awarded to applicants who live in overcrowded accommodation, however it should be noted that overcrowding no longer gives any statutory preference.

Under-occupation

  • Points may be awarded to applicants living in large houses who wish to move to smaller, more economical, houses. Since 1st May 2019 social landlords must give reasonable preference to tenants who it considers to be under-occupying. [3] The number of points awarded may depend on the degree of under-occupation.

Sharing amenities

  • Points may be awarded to applicants who share amenities such as toilet, kitchen or living room with members of another household.

Lacking amenities

  • Points may be awarded to applicants who lack basic amenities in their present accommodation.

Social situation

  • Points may be awarded to applicants who require rehousing because of a serious social situation.

Homelessness

  • Points may be awarded to applicants whose accommodation is insecure.

Last updated: 24 April 2019

Footnotes

  • [1]

    s.20 Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, as amended by s.10(2)(a) Housing (Scotland) Act 2001

  • [2]

    s.20(2)(b) Housing (Scotland) Act 1987

  • [3]

    s.20(1ZA)(c) Housing (Scotland) Act 1987