Scottish secure tenancies and LGBT people

In allocating housing, local authorities will have to have regard to the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

This content applies to Scotland

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act states discrimination is when someone with a protected characteristic is treated less favourably than another person would be in the same situation[1]. These protected characteristics include sexual orientation, [2] civil partnership [3]. and gender reassignment [4].

It is unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a person by not providing them with the services available [5]. A public authority that is exercising a function of a public nature, such as providing housing, cannot discriminate against a person based of the protected characteristics[6]. Discrimination could involve the issuing of a Short Scottish Secured Tenancy instead of a Scottish Secured Tenancy for no legitimate reason. It is also unlawful to restrict access to or evict anyone due to their sexual orientation or gender reassignment [7].

Other prohibited conduct includes harassment or victimisation on grounds of sexual orientation [8].

If a person has been subject to unlawful discrimination in Scotland due to their sexual orientation, proceedings can be brought in the sheriff court for breach of the statutory duties aforementioned [9]. The Equality and Human Rights Commission may be able to provide advice and representation to someone who has been discriminated against on account of their sexuality.

The Human Rights Act 1998

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights enshrines the right to respect for private and family life. This will affect both access to local authority housing waiting lists and allocations policies. It may be possible to use this Article to challenge housing policies by local authorities that try to discriminate against lesbian or gay couples.

In addition, local authorities and registered social landlords must allow access to a waiting list to anyone who is aged sixteen or over.[10]


The right to succeed to a Scottish secure tenancy extends to a same sex partner, provided that the property has been her/his only or principal home within the appropriate time period. [11] For more information, please see the section on succession.

Last updated: 27 July 2020


  • [1]

    s.13 The Equality Act 2010

  • [2]

    s.12 The Equality Act 2010

  • [3]

    s.8 The Equality Act 2010

  • [4]

    s.7 The Equality Act 2010

  • [5]

    s.29 The Equality Act 2010

  • [6]

    s.149 The Equality Act 2010

  • [7]

    s.35 The Equality Act 2010

  • [8]

    s.26 & 27 The Equality Act 2010

  • [9]

    s.114 The Equality Act 2010

  • [10]

    s.19 Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, as amended by s.9 Housing (Scotland) Act 2001

  • [11]

    sch.3 Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 as amended by para 66 sch.28 Civil Partnership Act 2004