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Moving to another house

There are a number of options open to a tenant who wishes to move to another home.

This content applies to Scotland

Exchanging a house

Tenants of local authorities and registered social landlords have the right to exchange houses. To do so, they must obtain the permission of the local authority or registered social landlord. Local authorities and registered social landlords may frame policies to regulate exchanges. For example, they can stipulate that a tenant must have occupied their current tenancy for a certain period of time before any application for an exchange will be considered. Advisers should note that 'mutual exchanges' are in fact 'mutual assignations' and should be treated as such. For more information, please see the section on assignation.

Transferring to another property

Tenants who want to move to another property in the same local authority area, or owned by the same registered social landlord, can apply for a transfer. Transfer applications will usually be considered in the same way and the same policy applied as to new applications.

Sections 19, 20 and 21 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 apply to exchange and transfer applications as well as to new applications.

Receiving an offer and moving in

There is no requirement for local authorities or registered social landlords to make a particular number of offers of accommodation. Some local authorities or registered social landlords may have a one offer only policy while others may make several offers. Local authorities and registered social landlords may also require an applicant to give reasons for turning down a tenancy, or they may also impose a 'penalty' for turning down a house without good reason. For example, they could refuse to make any further offers of housing for six months. It's useful to ask for, and examine, the policy of a local authority or registered social landlord on this.

Exclusion of councillors from local authority allocation procedures

Prior to 1993, one of the long-standing criticisms of local authority allocation procedures was the involvement of elected councillors in the process. This often gave rise to the suspicion that the rules were not fairly applied and that councillors could engage in special pleading on behalf of certain 'favoured' applicants. Accordingly, the role of councillors is now regulated by statute. [1]

A councillor is excluded from decisions on the allocation of local authority housing where either the house in question is situated, or the applicant resides in the ward for which the councillor concerned was elected.

This provision goes well beyond the general restrictions placed on councillors' participation in decision making when they have a financial or other interest in the subject matter under discussion.