Skip to main content
Shelter Logo
Skip to article
Search Shelter Scotland site by keyword with filters

Search Shelter Legal

...when suggestion results are available use up and down arrows to navigate and press enter key to select.



    This section explains the laws surrounding homelessness in Scotland and looks at the factors that need to be considered.

    Introduction to homelessness

    This section is an overview of the law relating to homelessness in Scotland. 

    Applying as homeless

    This section deals with issues that may need to be addressed up to and including the point at which someone makes an application as homeless. 

    Legal definition of homelessness

    This section looks at the definition of homelessness and the threat of homelessness. 


    The definition of intentional homelessness (or threatened homelessness) is contained in Section 26 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987. 

    Local connection

    A local authority may have the option of referring someone who is homeless to another local authority for accommodation. It does not have to do this and can only do so in specific circumstances. 

    Local authority duties

    This section looks at the duties of the local authority after an application is made, and should be read in conjunction with the section on applying as homeless. 

    Challenging local authority decisions

    This section looks at the ways in which an adviser may help someone affected by an adverse homelessness decision to challenge that decision. 

    European Economic Area nationals in Scotland

    This section covers the rights of EEA nationals who were living in the UK prior to 1 January 2021. EEA nationals who were living in the UK prior to this date are able to apply for Settled Status (or pre-settled status) and in doing so may protect some of the rights they had before Brexit, including rights to make a homeless application. 

    Priority Need

    Priority need was abolished in December 2012. No assessment of priority need should be carried out. This section is for reference only. 

    This content applies to Scotland

    Last updated: 22 June 2017