Housing Scotland Act 2014

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 introduced changes to help landlords make the best use of their housing stock, whilst at the same time recognising the rights of tenants to pass on their tenancy to others in appropriate circumstances and with the landlord’s consent.

Some parts of the Act require further legislation to be agreed or further guidance from the Scottish Government therefore a timetable for the changes becoming effective has only recently been set.

As previously publicised, the 2014 Act abolished the Right to Buy for all tenants of social housing in Scotland who had a right to buy on 1 August 2016, and the other changes came into force from May 2019 onwards.

Below are some questions which are frequently asked regarding the changes;

Do I require to sign a new tenancy agreement?

There is no requirement for any existing Scottish secure or short Scottish secure tenant to sign a new tenancy agreement.  From 1 May 2019 all new tenants will sign a revised tenancy agreement which includes all changes made by the Act.

Which parts of my tenancy agreement have changed?

There are changes;

  • if you want to sublet all or part of your house to someone else;
  • if you want to assign your tenancy (pass the tenancy on to someone else);
  • if you want another person to be included with you as a joint tenant;
  • to some of the rules around when certain people can succeed to (take over) a Scottish secure tenancy on the death of the tenant; and
  • to the way in which a Scottish secure tenancy can be ended following a conviction for serious antisocial or criminal behaviour.
What do these changes mean for me? 

The most significant change is the importance of letting us know who is living in your household.  This includes letting us know about anyone who has previously moved in with you who you have not already told us about.  We should also be notified when anyone moves into or out of your home in the future.

This is important because any decision about subletting, assignation, joint tenancy or succession will be based on whether yourself and/or the applicant are recorded by the Association as living in the property for a minimum of 12 months. 

It is also important to note that a tenancy can now be ended due to a conviction being obtained not only for the tenant or joint tenant, but for any person living in the property due to immoral or illegal purposes, or any offence punishable by imprisonment which was committed either in, or in the locality of the house.

How can I update who is in my household?

There are a number of ways in which you can ensure that your tenancy records are kept up to date. 

You can contact our Customer Service Team by email or in writing, to notify that there has been a change to who is living in your property. 

You can also call in person to our housing offices in Arbroath & Dundee and notify us of a change.

Complete the following online form:- https://angusha.formstack.com/forms/change_of_household_composition__notification_form_copy

What is an assignation and what are the changes?

An assignation is a formal request from a tenant to assign, or pass the tenancy from themselves to another person.

The new Act states that you must have lived at your property for at least 12 months before applying for permission to pass the tenancy to someone else.  There was previously no qualifying period.  Also, the person you wish to pass the house to must have lived at the property as their main home for at least 12 months prior to the application.  The previous qualifying period was 6 months.  Importantly, we cannot consider the 12 month period to have started unless we have been formally advised that the person you wish to pass the property is part of your household. 

The Act has added 2 further reasons under which permission to assign a property can be refused. Firstly, we can refuse permission if the person would not get priority under our allocations policy and secondly, if the home would be under-occupied.

This change comes into effect from 1 November 2019.

What is a sub-let and what are the changes? 

A sub let is when you want to let all or part of your house to someone else on a temporary basis.  

If you want to sub-let your tenancy, the new Act requires you to have been living in the property for at least 12 months (previously there was no qualifying period) and you will still need permission from the Association.

This change comes into effect from 1 November 2019.

​What are the changes when applying for a joint tenancy?

When a single tenant wishes to add another person to their tenancy they are required to seek permission from ourselves. 

The new Act states that the proposed joint tenant must have lived at the property as their main home for the 12 months before the application is submitted. There was previously no qualifying period. 

This change comes into effect from 1 November 2019.

What is a succession and what are the changes?

Succession is when a person is entitled to take over a Scottish secure tenancy on the death of the tenant. 

The new Act changes the rules on succession for 3 key groups:

  • Unmarried partners
  • Family members
  • Carers

Unmarried partners: The new Act states that the house must have been the unmarried partners only home for a minimum of 12 months prior to the tenant’s death before they qualify to succeed to the tenancy and they must have been noted as part of the household. The previous qualifying period was 6 months.

Family Members: The new Act states that the house must have been the family member’s only home for a minimum of 12 months prior to the tenant’s death before they qualify to succeed to the tenancy. Previously there was no qualifying period, the person simply had to be living there at the time of death. 

Carers:  The new Act states that the house must have been the carer’s only home for a minimum of 12 months before they qualify to succeed to the tenancy. Previously there was no qualifying period, the person simply had to be living there at the time of the tenant’s death and have given up a previous home to provide the care. 

There will be some cases where an individual has given up their home to care for a tenant or have not informed the landlord they have moved in and the tenant dies before the 12 month period has been met.  In such cases the carer may find themselves with no right to the tenancy and potentially homeless at a time when they are also experiencing bereavement.  These cases will not be common and there may be understandable or genuine reasons why the carer or tenant has not told the landlord of the changes.  This could include where the carer moved in following a medical emergency or where they were providing a high level of care which left them with little time for seeking out information and support or informing the Association  that they had moved in.  In such cases, the Association will carefully consider all the circumstances and consider whether it is appropriate to allocate a new tenancy for either the same or another property.

Why are these changes to succession rules being made?

Unfortunately, there are occasions where applicants try to take advantage of the succession rules.  In these cases it can often be difficult to differentiate between genuine qualifying people and those who have just moved into the house in order to take advantage of succession rights.  These changes are intended to reduce these situations. 

What are the changes in how my tenancy can be ended?

The Act allows for Scottish secure tenancies to be ended due to Court Order, conversion to a short Scottish secure tenancy or in cases where adapted properties are required for a person who needs the adaption and is not currently required by the occupants. 

What are the changes to how a tenancy can be ended by Court Order?

The Act has changed the way in which a Scottish secure tenancy can be ended by Court Order.  A Court does not have to consider whether it is reasonable to make an order for eviction in cases where a landlord has grounds for recovery of possession due to a conviction being obtained due to the tenant, joint tenant, person living in the property, sub-tenant or visitor either using the house for immoral or illegal purposes, or an offence punishable by imprisonment which was committed in, or in the locality of the house.

This means that a tenancy can be ended if someone living in the home or visiting the home is convicted of a serious offence in the vicinity of the house.  It allows the Association to end the tenancy where behaviour has had a serious impact on neighbours or others in the community.  A serious offence is one that the offender could have been imprisoned for, whether or not they were sentenced to imprisonment.  If we are intending to end a Scottish secure tenancy in this way we would serve a notice on you advising that we intend to seek recovery of possession of the property.  That would be done within 12 months of the conviction (or, if it was appealed unsuccessfully, of when the appeal ended).

A tenant has a right to challenge Angus Housing Association’s decision to take court action to end the tenancy on these grounds.

This change takes effect from 1 May 2019.

What are the changes in ending the tenancy of a property which has been adapted?

The new Act allows any social landlord to request a Court order to end the tenancy of an adapted property which is no longer being occupied by anyone who needs the adaptations.  This only applies where the landlord requires the property for someone who does need the adaptations.  If this situation was to arise, we would give notice before applying to the sheriff and would offer suitable alternative accommodation.  The tenant would be able to ask the sheriff to consider whether the request was reasonable and to challenge the suitability of any alternative accommodation.

This change will come into effect from 1 May 2019.

What are the changes in converting a tenancy to a short Scottish secure tenancy?

The new Act extends the circumstances by which we could change your Secure tenancy to short Scottish secure tenancy.  This would give you fewer rights and less protection from eviction than a secure tenancy.  A short Scottish secure tenancy has a fixed duration, unless we agree to extend it or convert it back to a Scottish secure tenancy. 

The circumstances now include any situation where a tenant or someone living with the tenant has acted in an antisocial manner or pursued a course of conduct amounting to harassment of another person. This conduct must have been in or around the house occupied by the tenant and it must also have happened in the 3 years before the notice is served.

The Act also requires landlords, which issuing a notice to a tenant converting a tenancy to a short Scottish secure tenancy as a result of antisocial behaviour. In cases where no antisocial behaviour order has been granted by the court, the landlord must include in the notice the actions of the person who has behaved in an antisocial manner, the landlord’s reasons for converting the tenancy and details of the tenant’s right of appeal to the sheriff.

This change will come into effect from 1 May 2019.

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Scottish Housing Regulator
Contact Angus Housing Association

Angus Housing Association Limited
93 High Street
Arbroath
Angus, DD11 1DP

Phone Angus Housing Association

0345 177 22 44

Angus Housing Association Limited
Registration Nos: FSA 1665R(S)    Communities Scotland HAL 65    Scottish Charity SC020981    Property Factor ID PF000129

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