Key Housing and Homelessness Words

Key Housing and Homelessness Words

Things can quickly become confusing when talking about housing and homelessness as there are many uses of industry-specific jargon that can get in the way of clear communication.
Below is a list of words, concepts, abbreviations and acronyms commonly used in housing and homelessness and an explanation of what they mean.

 


 

Abandoned House/ Abandonment

An empty property where the tenant has left without giving notice to their landlord of their intention to leave and has stopped paying rent. This is also known informally as doing a “moonlight flit.”

 

Abatement of Rent

A temporary reduction in the amount of rent paid, e.g., a landlord might reduce the rent for a temporary period if a part of the property cannot be used or if the landlord is causing the tenant an inconvenience.

 

Absentee Landlord

A landlord who does not live in the property they rent out, and who rarely visit it or pay it any attention. This often goes hand in hand with the property not receiving essential repairs and maintenance.

 

Acquisition

When a large organisation buys or has transferred property or land with the intention to rent it out.

 

Action Plan

A list of measures that a landlord or other agency intends to do to change something or implement a policy.

 

Adapted Housing

Property that has been physically changed, or intentionally built, to include features that make it more practical for someone with a disability or additional support need to live there, e.g., widened doors and level access for wheelchair users.

 

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are stressful events occurring in childhood including;

  • domestic violence,
  • parental abandonment through separation or divorce,
  • a parent with a mental health condition,
  • being the victim of abuse (physical, sexual and/or emotional),
  • being the victim of neglect (physical and emotional),
  • a member of the household being in prison,
  • growing up in a household in which there are adults experiencing alcohol and drug use problems.

A higher number of ACEs is seen to increase the risk of homelessness in later life.

 

Advice and Assistance

Everyone who makes a homeless application is entitled to advice and assistance in finding a housing solution. This could be in the form of housing, financial, legal or welfare advice, or practical help with their situation. It is the basic help every homeless applicant should expect.

 

Affordability Test

A calculation made by a landlord or government agency to assess how much money a tenant could reasonably be expected to pay in rent without being forced into extreme poverty. Affordable means a household should spend no more than a third of its income (after tax and benefits) on housing costs.

 

Affordable Housing

(i) Rented housing where the amount of rent payable is set below the local market rate. This can include Mid-Market Rents from the for-profit sector as well as Local Authority or Registered Social Landlords rents.

(ii) Low cost housing, including shared ownership schemes, which are available buy at below local market rates.

 

Allocations/Allocation Policy

A set of rules a social landlord uses for deciding who should get housed when one of their properties is ready for a new tenant.

It is a legal obligation for every Registered Social Landlord to have a published Allocations Policy which is reviewed regularly to ensure it is still fair and doesn’t break the law.

 

Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA)

This is a when changes are made to the way in which Universal Credit (UC) is paid instead of being paid directly each month to the lead claimant/head of household as is standard. Currently there are three types of APA available:

  • direct payment of the housing element of UC to landlords (this is known as Managed Payments to Landlord -MPTL)
  • splitting of payment between members of a couple (spouses or cohabiting partners)
  • more frequent schedule of benefit payments (e.g., weekly, or fortnightly)

Landlords can also ask the DWP to make deductions directly from a claimant’s Universal Credit allowance to pay back any rent arrears. This can be done using the APA request form at the time of application or later in the tenancy.

Deductions are a minimum of 10% to a maximum of 20% of a claimant’s Universal Credit standard allowance.

 

Amenity Housing

A property with special features, such as level access wet room bath/shower room, or lower kitchen worktop height, to help a tenant to maintain an independent life. (See also Adapted Housing.)

 

Annual Report

A report produced by an organisation, such as a landlord, or tenants and residents’ group, which sets out what key actions took place over the previous year. It may also include a report of performance and details of accounts.

 

Annual Return on the Charter (ARC)

A yearly report each Registered Social Landlord must produce for the Scottish Housing Regulator to show progress they have made in meeting the targets/outcomes in the Scottish Social Housing Charter. The ARC must also be made available to tenants.

 

Annual Report to Tenants

A report Registered Social Landlords must provide to tenants outlining the organisation’s performance over the past financial year. This should include details of the ARC and a comparison of at least two years’ data to give context and make it easier to see progress or areas for development.

 

Antisocial Behaviour (ASB)

Antisocial behaviour is any activity that that causes harm, distress, alarm, nuisance, or annoyance to an individual or community or to the wider local area.

This could be an action by someone else that leaves another person or persons feeling endangered, alarmed, harassed, or distressed. It also includes fear of crime or concern for public safety, public disorder, or public nuisance.

Several different of Acts of Parliament have set out a range of actions Registered Social Landlords can take when dealing with antisocial behaviour by tenants or their visitors. These actions can include eviction, but eviction isn’t the only remedy available.

 

Antisocial Behaviour Contract (ABC)

A written agreement made between a landlord and an individual believed to be involved in antisocial behaviour where the tenant/individual agrees to make changes to their behaviour and stop any antisocial activity.

The agreement is not legally binding, however should the tenant/individual break the terms of the agreement then formal legal action is a potential consequence.

 

Antisocial Behaviour Notice (ASBN)

An Antisocial Behaviour Notice can be served from a Local Authority to any private landlord operating in the area where a private tenant’s antisocial behaviour has been reported. The ASBN details the action a private landlord must take to address antisocial behaviour taking place within their property.

 

Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBO)

A legal order granted by the sheriff court after an application is made by either a local authority or Registered Social Landlord that has specific terms intended to stop any person over the age of 12 from acting in an antisocial manner.

Getting an ASBO does not mean someone has been convicted of a crime, and it won’t be part of a criminal record.  However, it is a crime to breach (break the terms of) an ASBO which can be punished by a prison sentence, a community payback order or a fine. It may also lead to eviction.

 

Antisocial Behaviour Strategy

A jointly prepared, published strategy from local authorities and the Chief Constable setting out how they plan to tackle antisocial behaviour within their areas. The strategy must be reviewed and revised regularly.

 

Arrears

Money owed to a landlord from a tenant where the tenant has missed or underpaid their rent.

 

Asset

Property or land that has a commercial value owned by a person or company.

 

Asset Management

The process for operating, maintaining, and upgrading physical assets, such as housing stock, in a cost-effective way to        maximise financial returns, minimise financial risk and meet the needs of current and future tenants.

 

Assignation of Tenancy

The process where a tenancy is passed from the current tenant to a specific new tenant (e.g., when an adult child takes on the tenancy of their deceased parent.) In social housing this can only happen with the landlord’s consent.

 

Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO)

The representative body for Scottish local authority housing. The chief housing officer from each council attends regular meetings to discuss key housing issues affecting local authorities across Scotland.

 

BAME

A commonly used acronym for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities or individuals. Sometimes further shortened to BME.

 

Bedroom Tax

An informal name for a measure introduced in the Welfare Reform Act 2012, by which the amount of housing benefit is reduced if the property a person is renting is judged to have more bedrooms than they need.

Housing Benefit could be reduced if you live in social rented housing and have a spare bedroom. The reduction is:

  • 14% of the ‘eligible rent’ for one spare bedroom
  • 25% of the ‘eligible rent’ for two or more spare bedrooms

Because most benefits budgets are a reserved matter for Westminster to decide the Scottish Government cannot unilaterally scrap the Bedroom Tax. Instead, it has chosen to mitigate its impact in Scotland by providing local authorities with added discretionary housing payment (DHP) funding. DHPs are used to help tenants in financial hardship to pay their rent.

 

Below Tolerable Standard (BTS)

A house falling below the “tolerable standard” which is the minimum quality standard for all housing in Scotland set down in law.

 

Breakage Cost

A cost for repaying a loan early to a bank or other lender.

 

Briefing Paper

A short explanation of a policy or proposal.

 

Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA)

A BRMA is defined as “where a person could reasonably be expected to live, taking into account access to facilities and services.”  The BRMA is used to calculate applicable Local Housing Allowance levels.

There are 18 BRMAs in Scotland:

  • Aberdeen and Shire
  • Argyll and Bute
  • Ayrshires
  • Dumfries and Galloway
  • Dundee and Angus
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • Fife
  • Forth Valley
  • Greater Glasgow
  • Highland and Islands
  • Lothians
  • North Lanarkshire
  • Perth and Kinross
  • Renfrewshire/ Inverclyde
  • Scottish Borders
  • South Lanarkshire
  • West Dunbartonshire
  • West Lothian

 

Brownfield

The term generally used to describe land that has been previously developed and may be available for re-use.

 

Budget

An estimate of all income and expenditure over a defined period. Most often a financial year, but other periods can be used.

 

Building Regulations

Rules for constructing and altering houses made by the Scottish Ministers under powers contained in an Act of the Scottish Parliament.

 

Buy Back

Process where local authorities Registered Social Landlords use grants made available by the Scottish Government to buy back houses that sold under the Right-to-Buy legislation when they come up for sale on the open market. They are then usually modernised/brought up to building standards before being made available for rent.

 

Buy to Leave

Residential property bought and deliberately left empty. Often bought as an investment or for the development opportunities on the site purchased.

Some properties bought to leave can be left to fall into dereliction which then makes it easier for the property owners/developers to get the planning permission required to clear the site and redevelop.

 

Buy to Let

When a property has been bought specifically to let out, i.e., is to rent out in the Private Rented Sector. Buy to let properties are usually residential but the term also includes student accommodation investments, and hotel room investments.

 

Calling Up Notice

A formal written notice issued by the lender to the borrower warning that the lender is about to go to court to repossess the property. This is usually because of non-payment of mortgage instalments.

 

Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s allowance is a benefit available to people on low incomes who care for an adult or disabled child for over 35 hours a week.

 

Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland (CIHS)

CIHS is the representative body for housing professionals in Scotland.

 

Choice Based Lettings (CBL)

A method of housing allocation where applicants bid on available properties. Once the bidding closes, the applicant considered to have the greatest need from all who applied (based on factors such as vulnerability, disability, etc., often using a points-based system) is offered the tenancy.

 

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) are members of a network of free information and advice providers and give free information and advice to people on issues such as benefits, debt, consumer rights and family law.

 

Closing Order

A closing order can be issued by a local authority if a house is below a “tolerable standard” (i.e., not fit to live in) but is part of a building in which other properties are not.

An example might be where a flat within a block has been neglected and is no longer wind and watertight, leading to problems with its structural integrity but other flats within the same block have been better maintained.

Any landlord issued with a closing order must ensure it is brought up to standard before renting it out again. It is a criminal offence to continue to live there or to allow anyone to live there without all necessary repairs being completed and inspected.

 

Closure Notice

Under the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 the police have powers to serve a closure notice to prevent people other than the owner or the usual residents from entering any premises reported where there has been a repeated focus of antisocial behaviour.

 

Code of Guidance

The Code of Guidance is a Scottish Government document that sets out both statutory duties and good practice guidelines to help local authorities in meeting their duties to help people who are threatened with or who are experiencing homelessness.

 

Common Housing Register (CHR)

A single shared register of applicants for housing that can be accessed by several landlords managing housing stock in a particular area. Usually, applicants need only to complete one application form to join the CHR. They can then receive offers from any of the landlords using the register without needing to apply separately each time.

 

Community Asset Transfer (CAT)

A process by which ownership and management responsibility for land or buildings are transferred from local authorities or other public bodies to community groups.

 

Community Based Housing Association

A housing association with tenants/community representatives on the governing body or board.

 

Community Payback Orders (CPO)

Community Payback Orders (CPOs) are an alternative to a custodial (jail) sentence after a court conviction. Commonly known as Community Service, they are designed to make individuals ‘pay back’ to their communities for the damage and distress they have caused through their criminal behaviour. Most often this takes the form of several hundred hours of unpaid work.

 

Community Planning Partnership (CPP)

Led by a local authority, CPPs are made up of a group of organisations, including third sector and tenants’/residents’ associations who form a partnership to plan how local services will be delivered in their area.

 

Company Limited by Guarantee

This is a company – including third sector/non-profit organisations – that does not issue shares but is instead “guaranteed” by its members. Most commonly it is the board of directors/trustees who agree to pay a nominal sum if the company goes bust.

 

Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO)

A compulsory purchase order is an order that gives certain authorities (local authority/government/utility company/railway company) the legal power to buy your home or land from you at what they consider to be a market-led, fair valuation. The authority must follow a legal process to obtain the CPO which may include a public inquiry. Some CPOs take years to complete.

 

Concierge

A form of caretaker in a housing development, usually multi-storey flats. Often, they form part of the security measures within a block, controlling who gets access, and monitoring the area by closed circuit television (CCTV). They may supply other services to the tenants, e.g., signing for parcels etc.

 

Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest is when a member of staff or management committee member takes part in making a decision that may result in personal benefit. Most often an individual who is aware of a potential conflict of interest will notify the others in the governing body and excuse themselves from that part of decision making.

 

Consortium

A group of organisations who work in partnership with each other but who do not give up their individual identity or autonomy. Most often this form of collaboration happens when bidding to supply services commissioned by a local authority.

 

Consultation

Consultation is the process organisations and agencies use to seek the views of interested parties, e.g., people who use the service, employees, partner agencies and/or the public. It offers an opportunity for people other than decision makers to give their insights on proposed changes.

 

Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)

COSLA is a representative body for local councils in Scotland. COSLA gathers the views of member councils and communicates these to the Scottish Government, other relevant bodies, and the public.

 

Coproduction

Where a variety of people and organisations cooperate to find a shared solution. Usually, it involves people who use services being consulted, included, and working together from the start to the end of a specific piece of work.

 

Couch Surfing

A form of homelessness where people make temporary casual arrangements to sleep on a friend of family member’s sofa or floor. Also known as Sofa Surfing.

 

Crash Pad

A temporary place to sleep, especially for a single night or in an emergency.

 

Credit Union

A not-for-profit financial organisation that is owned by its members. Credit Unions offer savings accounts and loan facilities, often at lower rates than commercial banks and that can be accessed by people who might otherwise lack access to mainstream banking products such as loans or savings accounts.

 

Criminal Antisocial Behaviour Orders (CRASBO)

A form of antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) which can be imposed as part of a criminal sentence by the Sheriff Court when someone is convicted of a criminal offence.

 

Data Protection Act 2018

The Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Act controls how personal information is used by organisations, businesses, or the government.           An example is that a landlord generally cannot give out tenants’ addresses and other information to a private company without the tenant’s explicit agreement.

 

Day-to-Day Repair

Repairs carried out in a single house by a landlord at the request of an individual tenant. This can also be called a responsive repair or reactive repair.

 

Debt             

Money owed.

 

Decanted

The term used when a tenant is moved temporarily from their home to allow repairs/improvements to take place.

 

Decree

A court order which sets out the final decision of a court in a case. An example might be an order allowing a landlord to evict a tenant, or an order that one person pays money to another.

 

Demand

This word is used in housing to describe the popularity and availability of housing in a defined area.

If there are more houses available to let in an area, than applicants looking to live in that area, this is sometimes described as low-demand or hard to let.

If there are lots of people seeking houses in an area, but houses do not become    available to let very often, the area is often described as high-demand.

 

Demolition Order

If a local authority has assessed that your home is below the “tolerable standard” for occupation and it cannot be repaired/ it would cost too much to be brought up to current building standards, it can issue a demolition order. The demolition order demands that you leave the property within 28 days of receiving notice, and that the property is demolished within six weeks of the order being issued.

 

Determination of a Contract

The end or finish of a contract.

 

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

This is paid by local authorities to people who receive Housing Benefit/housing component of Universal Credit but who need extra help to pay their rent.
A common example would be to mitigate the effects of the “bedroom tax”. DHP is funded by the Scottish Government but managed by each individual local authority.

 

Displacement

The shifting of a housing problem from one area to another due to an action by the landlord. A common example would be if a landlord evicts an antisocial tenant then rehouses him/her in a different area where they then cause the same problems.

 

Disturbance Allowance

A discretionary payment sometimes made by a landlord to a tenant to cover any upset due to being inconvenienced by major works.

 

Drug Treatment and Testing Order (DTTO)

DTTO is a form of community sentence (i.e., you cannot adhere to DTTO requirements if you are in prison) that can be issued when a court is satisfied that a convicted person is dependent on (or tends to misuse) drugs, and their drug use can be treated. It is overseen by a “supervising officer” from the local authority, with whom the convicted person must stay in contact and inform of any changes of address. The supervising officer will produce reports to the court on the person’s progress (which can relate to their social/financial/housing status, as well as their drug use).

 

Elected Members

A term that is used for councillors, Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP).

 

Enabler

A term for local authorities who have a duty to enable (or support) other landlords to supply housing in their areas but who do not have any housing stock of their own to manage.

 

Equality Act

The Equality Act 2010 is a UK-wide piece of legislation that became law in October 2010. It replaced and combined several pieces of earlier legislation, such as the Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

The Act provides the legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.

It prohibits discrimination based on several specific “protected characteristics.” These characteristics are defined as:

  • Age;
  • Disability;
  • Gender reassignment;
  • Marriage and civil partnership;
  • Pregnancy and maternity;
  • Race/Ethnicity;
  • Religion or belief;
  • Sex;
  • Sexual orientation.

 

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)

An Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) involves assessing the impact of new or revised policies, practices, or services against the requirements of the public sector equality duty. The duty      references the Equality Act 2010, but also goes further in that it can also take into consideration social and economic factors such as poverty and educational opportunity/attainment.

 

Ethnic Minority

An ethnic minority is a group within a community which has a different national or cultural heritage from the predominant population.

 

Eviction

The process of removing the right of a tenant to live within a landlord’s property and of physically removing them from it.

Landlords must follow specific legal procedures before they can legally evict a tenant, either via the sheriff court or the First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber.

 

Factoring

A term related to the provision of services to manage and maintain the common areas of land/buildings owned by two or more persons. Its services may include providing and instructing repairs to common parts of a tenement, or cleaning and lighting of shared areas or stairs, as well as the upkeep of common gardens and sourcing of buildings’ insurance.

 

Fair Rent

A fair rent can apply to any accommodation, either in the Registered Social Landlord or private rented sector without a resident landlord and which was let before 2 January 1989.

The rent officer’s determination can be challenged by application to First Tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber.)

 

Financial Year

A financial year is a period of 12 months, used by government, business, and other organisations to calculate their budgets, profits, and losses. Most commonly 1 April to 31 March is used as the financial year. This is important to tenants because local authorities and Registered Social Landlords plan, organise and discuss their affairs based on financial years and not calendar years. This includes changes to rents and council tax.

 

First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber)

The First-Tier Housing Tribunal is a judicial body which deals with determinations of rent or repair issues in private sector housing as well as assistance in exercising a landlord’s right of entry. It also deals with complaints against property factors not following their duties and the relevant code of conduct.

Since December 2017, its jurisdiction was extended to also include a wide variety of disputes within the private rented sector, particularly eviction actions, payment claims by landlords against tenants, and failures by landlords to follow tenancy deposit regulations. In addition, it deals with complaints about failures of letting agents to follow a code of practice.

 

Focus Group

A method of gaining opinion from a group of people that may have an issue in common. For example, a service provider may set up a focus group of service users to find out how they feel about their experience of the service. Focus groups are often selected from a pool of volunteers.

 

Framework

The ideas, information, and principles that form the basis of an organisation or plan.

 

Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002 (FOI)

An Act of the Scottish Parliament that defines what information public sector organisations are obliged to provide on request. The Westminster Government passed the Freedom of Information Act for the United Kingdom in 2000.

 

Fuel Poverty

A household is in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on all household fuel use. If over 20% of income is spent on fuel, then this is termed as being in extreme fuel poverty.

 

Furnished Let

A property that it is rented to a tenant either fully-furnished or part-furnished. An inventory of the furnishings should be provided to the tenant on signing the lease. The furnishings form part of the tenancy agreement and the landlord is responsible for maintaining or replacing them.

 

Garden Maintenance Scheme

As set out in the Local Government and Planning (Scotland) Act 1982, local authorities must supply or make provision for gardening assistance to those requiring some help through old age, disability, or long-term illness. This is not always a free service.

 

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on 25 May 2018. It defines how businesses and public sector organisations handle, store and share the information of customers.

 

General Fund

The general fund is the main account held by local authorities into which council tax is paid. It is then used for other council services that are not funded from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) such as roads, streetlights, education, etc.

 

General Needs

Housing without any special accessible design features or adaptations. Also known as mainstream housing.

 

Green Paper

When a government department is considering introducing a new law, it will put together a discussion document called a Green Paper. This document is the first parliamentary stage in creating a law.

 

Guidance

A set of instructions, often provided by the Scottish Government or a relevant regulatory body, to help local authorities, Registered Social Landlords and other agencies ensure their practices are following the law.

 

Handbook

A set of documents given to tenants at the beginning of their tenancy outlining their rights and responsibilities and setting out the services and standards expected to be provided by the landlord throughout the tenancy. Usually incorporated into the New Tenant Pack, it includes details such as: housing officer contact information, services provided, support agency information, where to report damages or ask for repairs, landlord partner organisations etc.

 

Hand tapping

A form of street begging where someone is directly approached for money.

 

Hard to Let

Properties are considered hard to let when:

  • They are empty for a longer than expected period.
  • Demand for the property is low, or there is no demand.
  • Applicants refuse to accept offers of the property more often than offers of other properties within the landlord’s portfolio.

Reasons for this can include the property’s type, size, condition, or its location.

 

Hidden Homelessness

Homeless people who are hidden from statistics and services as they are dealing with their situation informally are described as “hidden”. This means they are staying with family and friends, sofa surfing, living in unsuitable, unsafe or overcrowded housing, or in ‘beds in sheds’ situations.

 

HL1, HL2, HL3

If a household presents themselves as homeless or threatened with homelessness (within 56 days) in Scotland, the local authority will ask them to complete a HL1 form. The HL2 system is used to collect a snapshot of households in temporary accommodation at the end of each quarter. Since 2016, it has been mandatory for local authorities to send placement level data on temporary accommodation which has formed the HL3.

 

Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG)

HARSAG was set up in 2017 to recommend to Scottish Government Ministers the actions and solutions needed to eradicate rough sleeping and transform the use of temporary accommodation in Scotland. It delivered its final report in 2018.

HARSAG also advised Ministers on how to ensure the recommendations are successfully implemented to secure rapid change and improvement towards the Government’s goals.
HARSAG was reconvened in June 2020 to give recommendations to the Scottish Government on actions needed during the coronavirus pandemic and in the future to end homelessness.

 

Homeless

The simple definition of “homeless” refers to people who have no accommodation. However, a person is also defined as homeless if:

  • they have no home in the UK or anywhere else in the world where they and their family can live together, or
  • they have no rights to live in the place they are currently staying, or
  • their right to stay in their accommodation will end within 56 days, or
  • the place where they are currently living is unsuitable or unsafe.

Homeless is not only – or even mainly – about being roofless or rough sleeping.

 

Homelessness Strategy

As part of the Local Housing Strategy, local authorities must send a strategic plan to the Scottish Government showing how they plan to prevent and alleviate homelessness in their area. This is called their Homelessness Strategy. A document setting out the strategy must also be publicly available and is usually published on a local authority’s website. It is reviewed every 5 years.

 

Household

An individual or family that occupies or wants to occupy a house.

 

Housing (Scotland) Act

An Act of the Scottish Parliament. It sets out the law about specific aspects of housing. An example is the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014. The date tells you when it was passed by parliament. Housing law was fully devolved to Scotland at the formation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

 

Housing Association

A not-for-profit landlord that is registered with and overseen by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR).

 

Housing Benefit

A social security benefit paid to help a tenant to cover either the full or partial cost of the rent due if unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits.

It has largely been replaced by Universal Credit, however in certain specific instances people still receive of Housing Benefit.

 

Housing Bill

A draft law introduced in the Scottish Parliament that makes proposed changes to Scottish housing law.
A bill becomes an act after it has been debated, amended, and agreed by the Scottish Parliament, and approved by the reigning monarch.

 

Housing Co-op

A not-for-profit landlord who is registered with the Scottish Housing Regulator and is managed either entirely or mainly by its tenants.

 

Housing First

A housing policy approach that moves rough sleepers from the streets or shelters straight into independent housing. This contrasts with other programmes where rough sleepers must deal with other issues that may have contributed to their episode of rough sleeping (e.g., addiction) before being granted independent housing.

 

Housing Needs

The difference between the type, number, and size of houses currently available in a particular area and the level of demand from current and future households.

This term could also apply to an          individual’s housing needs. For example, when a family with opposite sex children over the age of 10 needs a larger property to allow them to meet the legal requirement of having their own rooms.

 

Housing Providers

Collective term including anyone who makes houses available to rent.

 

Human Rights

Fundamental rights and freedoms defined in law by the Human Rights Act 1998.

 

Improvements

Work on a property that gives it something it did not have before. For example, replacing single glazing with double glazing, or installing a new kitchen.

 

Interdict

A court order instructing a person to stop doing something. For example, to stop causing a specified nuisance to a neighbour such as playing loud music after 10pm etc.

An Interim Interdict is a temporary version of the same court order.

 

Interim Antisocial Behaviour Order (ASBO)

A temporary ASBO granted until a full investigation by the court can take place and a full ASBO applied.

 

Joint Tenancy

Where more than one person signs the tenancy agreement and everyone signing takes responsibility for the tenancy.
Responsibility can be described as “separate” where each individual is responsible for specifically allocated responsibilities, or “joint and several” where two or more persons jointly promise in the same contract to do the same thing, but also separately promise to do the same thing. For example, if A and B promise “jointly and severally to pay” rent to C, then they are together under an obligation to pay rent to C, but they are also individually under an obligation to pay rent to C. If A does not pay, then B is obliged to. C can look to get the money owed from both A and B together, or either A or B.

For a joint tenant to be added to the tenancy agreement:

  • The proposed joint tenant must have lived in the property as their only or principal home for the 12 months before the tenant applies to the landlord for them to become a joint tenant.
  • The 12-month period cannot begin unless the landlord has been informed that the person is living in the property as their only or principal home.

 

Judicial Review

Judicial review is the process by which a court reviews a decision, action, or failure to act, by a public body or other official decision maker.

It is only available where all other legal routes have been tried, and where there are existing recognised grounds for a challenge.

 

Land Bank

Unused land owned by a landlord which is being “saved up” and/or not developed, and which may be used to build new housing at some time in the future.

 

Landlord

An individual or organisation who rents a property to someone based on a legal agreement.

 

Lease

A tenancy agreement setting out the rights, responsibilities, terms and conditions of the landlord and tenant.

 

Legislation

A law that has been agreed and passed by Parliament.

 

Lettable Standard

The basic standard that all houses must meet before they are allocated to a new tenant.

 

Local Authority

A local council that owns and manages public services, including housing, within a defined geographical area. Some local authorities in Scotland have transferred the ownership of their housing stock to an alternative landlord, however the legal responsibility for housing and homelessness matters remains with the local authority.

 

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

LHA is a benefit to help pay for private rented sector housing costs for tenants aged over 25 or families under 25 who have children. It is calculated by working out private rent levels across the BRMA.  Mathematical calculations are then applied to the list of rents to decide the LHA rate which are set as the lower of:

  • the 30th percentile on a list of rents in the broad rental market area
  • the existing LHA.

The amount of LHA payable varies across Scotland.  Payment is not based per property but per bedroom you are entitled to occupy.  Single people without children under 25 receive a version of LHA called the Shared Room Rate (SRR).
If a household’s rent is higher than the amount of LHA they receive is it the responsibility of the tenant to pay any shortfall.

 

Local Housing Strategy (LHS)

A document produced by all local authorities that considers the housing need in their area and which describes the actions they will carry out to meet that need. This covers all tenures, including owner occupied not just rented houses, so it often includes actions relating to the building of private dwellings and regeneration of areas, planning permission and zoning.

 

Low Letting Demand                        See Hard To Let

 

Mainstream Housing

Housing without any special accessible design features or adaptations. Also known as general needs housing.

 

Managed Payment to Landlord (MPTL)

Under Universal credit (UC) the housing cost component is usually paid to directly the tenant. MPTL is an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) that pays the rent directly to the landlord. This can be requested by the landlord automatically if arrears are more than 8 weeks.
MPTL may also be considered at any point during the Universal Credit claim. They may be identified at the outset by a work coach, or case manager, or at any time during the claim, such as if the claimant is struggling with the single monthly payment.

They can also be triggered by information received from the claimant, or their representative.

 

Mandate

A document signed by an individual that gives another person or agency authority to do something on their behalf.

 

Market Rent

A rent level set by a private landlord based on the maximum amount they expect to receive when offering the house on the open market.

 

Mediation

A facilitated process that aims to settle disputes by offering an opportunity to talk about what is causing problems without apportioning blame. Mediation gives people in conflict a space and time to try and understand each other’s point of view even if you don’t agree with it. The intention of mediation is to build agreement and find a way forward that is acceptable to all the people directly involved.

 

Memorandum and Articles of Association

The memorandum of association is the document that sets up the company and the articles of association set out how the company is run, governed, and owned. The articles of association include the responsibilities and powers of the directors and how the members exert control over the board of directors.

 

Mid-Market Rent (MMR)

Mid-market rent homes charge rents that are higher than the social rented sector but lower than the market rent for a particular area. MMR tenants are typically those who would not qualify for social housing but cannot afford to pay market rent or buy a property.

 

Minutes

A formal written record of a meeting. A minute should include who took part in the meeting, who was in attendance, what was discussed and any actions that were agreed.

 

Missive of Let

Sometimes used as an alternative term for a tenancy agreement.

 

Modernisation

The process of improving the physical condition of housing stock to bring it up to current standards and expectations, often applied to refurbishments of interiors and plumbing/wiring.

 

Mortgage

A particular type of loan used to buy a house or flat secured on the property and based on a percentage of its valuation. This means that if you default on the loan (miss payments) the lender can repossess the property.

 

Mutual Exchange

Where a council or housing association tenant agrees to swap their home permanently with another tenant. Mutual exchanges require landlord approval and can happen between tenants throughout the United Kingdom, not just within Scotland.

 

New Tenant Pack

Information and advice pack provided by landlords to new tenants that includes details such as: officer contact information, services provided, support agency information, etc.

 

Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPB)

A body which has a role in national government but is not a government department or part of one, and which works at arm’s length from Ministers.

 

Non-Executive Directors

Directors of an organisation, including some Registered Social Landlords, who are not members of staff of that organisation.

 

Not-for-profit

This means that no one involved in the organisation can take any income beyond staff salaries and expenses. Extra income or surplus in any one year can be kept in reserve for the future unless grant conditions dictate that any underspend is to be returned.

 

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

A person will have no recourse to public funds when they are ‘subject to immigration control’, as defined at section 115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. A person who is subject to immigration control cannot claim public funds (including benefits and housing assistance) unless an exception applies.

 

Notice of Proceedings for Recovery of Possession (NPRP)

A formal notice of a landlord’s intention to raise court action for eviction in the Sheriff Court.

 

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)

The independent regulator and registrar of Scottish charities.

 

Ombudsman

An official appointed to investigate complaints against a company or organisation, especially a public authority. For social housing in Scotland the ombudsman is the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)

 

Open Market Acquisition Scheme (OMAS)

The Open Market Acquisition Scheme is a Scottish Government initiative that makes grants available for local authorities to buy houses for sale on the open market and make them available for rent to applicants on their waiting list.  When the properties are former local authority or Registered Social Landlord houses it can sometimes also be referred to as a ‘buy-back’ scheme.

 

Outstanding Debt

If a landlord decides to sell its housing stock for a price less than the current debt on the houses the difference between the price paid and the size of the debt is termed the outstanding debt. It can also be referred to as Residual Debt.

 

Overcrowding

When a household is living in a property that has fewer bedrooms than they need for the size of their household this is defined in law as overcrowding. Statutory Overcrowding is considered a form of homelessness.

 

Owner Occupier

A person who owns or has a mortgage on the property that they live in.

 

Parenting Order

These orders were introduced in the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004. They require parents to intervene to change or improve their child’s anti-social behaviour and/or their own behaviour. Often orders require parents to attend counselling, mediation, or parenting classes.  Repeated or serious breaches of Parenting Orders can lead to ASBOs and ultimately eviction.

 

Parliament

The body of politicians that debates and agrees legislation for Scotland (Scottish Parliament) and the UK (Westminster Parliament). Some matters such as defence and social security benefits are reserved, which means that Westminster makes the decisions. Other matters, such as health and education are controlled by the Scottish Government. Housing and homelessness is the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament.

 

Participatory Budgeting (PB)

Where the control of community budgets is passed from the council or registered social landlord to be managed by local groups.
For example, Participatory Budgeting can also be used to enable a democratically elected group of local people to decide on how parts of the housing service budget should be spent in their area.

 

Partial Stock Transfer

This is when a local authority decides to keep ownership of some of its houses and sell others to one or more different landlords.

 

Particular Needs

This is where an individual or household has a need that requires a particular or distinct solution. For example, someone who uses a wheelchair has a particular need for an adapted property.

 

Partnership

Organisations formally working together towards a common aim or goal.

 

Peer Review Process

(i) A system used by similar organisations to compare the way in which a service is delivered with a view to adopting best practice. This is also called bench-marking.

(ii) An academic process where research is considered by others working in the same field to ensure academic rigour and relevance.

 

Place Making

A term used to describe the process of making communities attractive places to live and work It involves thinking about roads, footpaths, houses, shops, amenities, greenspaces, housing density, etc.

 

Planning Permission

A local authority process to assess whether a landlord, individual or developer can build or carry out major alterations that affect the internal or external structure of buildings.

 

Pre-Tenancy Determination of Rent  

A rental valuation by the independent rent officer provided to a private tenant before they take up a tenancy. This lets the tenant know how much of the rent will be covered by Housing Benefit/ the housing component of Universal Credit.

 

Prevent1

In Scotland, the Prevent1 data collection system gathers information on the operation of ‘Housing Options’ services that are made available when households seek assistance for housing-related issues, and which can be used by local authorities as a means of delivering statutory duties around the provision of advice and information for the prevention of homelessness.

 

Private Residential Tenancy (PRT)

Introduced on 1 December 2017, the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) became the standard tenancy agreement for all new tenancies in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). It was introduced by the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.

 

Property Type

The range of dwellings that make up a landlord’s housing stock. For example:

  • Bungalow – a single-storey house.
  • Common entry (or tenement) flats – flats in buildings of up to four storeys that share a main entry, with each flat accessed from a common landing or stair.
  • Detached house – a house that doesn’t have any shared walls with other properties.
  • Semi-detached house – a house that shares a dividing wall with one neighbour.
  • End terraced house – a house at the end of a row of houses that are joined together.
  • Mid terraced house – a house that shares dividing walls with neighbours on either side.
  • 4-in-a-block (or cottage) flat – single-storey flats with own front door.
  • Multi-storey blocks – flats in buildings of more than four floors that share a main entry, with each individual flat accessed from a common landing.
  • Town House – a single house built over more than two floors.

 

Protected Characteristics

The Equality Act 2010 sets out nine protected characteristics against which landlords and other bodies should not discriminate when developing policies or delivering services.

These characteristics are:

  • age;
  • sex;
  • race;
  • disability;
  • pregnancy and maternity;
  • marital status;
  • sexual orientation;
  • gender reassignment;
  • religious background.

 

Public Enquiry

A review of a decision made by a public body such as a local authority, held in public and chaired by an independent person appointed by the First Minister of the Scottish Government.

 

Public Expenditure

Money spent by a government, local authority, or any other public organisation.

 

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance covers the cost of claims made by

members of the public for incidents that occur in connection with business activities, e.g., it will insure landlords against compensation payments and legal costs if a member of the public (tenant, supplier, or passer-by) is injured directly or indirectly by a local authority.

 

Public Sector Borrowing Requirement (PSBR)

The amount of money government and public bodies needs to borrow to help finance national and local public services, including local authority housing. PSBR is technically the budget gap between what the government gets as income and what it is committed to spend.

 

Pursuer

The term used in some Scottish civil court actions to describe the individual or organisation who has raised a legal action against another individual or organisation.

 

Qualitative

A way of measuring how well something works by using “soft” data, such as a quality, ethos or characteristic rather than an empirically measured value e.g., opinions, testimony, feedback.

 

Quantitative

A way of measuring how well something works by using “hard” information such as numbers or statistics.

 

Quorate

The rules stating how many members of a board or committee must be present at its meetings to make any valid decisions. The committee is quorate if at least that number is present.

 

Quorum

The agreed minimum number of people who must attend a board or committee meeting before it can make any valid decisions.

 

Rapid Rehousing (RRH)

 Where homelessness cannot be prevented, Rapid Rehousing is an approach that looks to move someone assessed as homeless and with few or no assessed support needs into settled mainstream housing as quickly as possible.  RRH also aims to reduce the time spent in any form of temporary accommodation to a minimum, with as few transitions as possible.

 

­Reactive Repairs

Unplanned repairs carried out by a landlord at the request of an individual tenant or tenants. These can also be called responsive repairs or day-to-day repairs.

 

Recovery Action

The court process a landlord must go through to obtain an order to repossess a house and to evict a tenant.

 

Recovery of Possession

If a landlord is successful in the recovery action, a court order is then granted which enables the landlord to evict the tenant and the landlord to get back possession of the property.

 

Refurbishment

Large-scale repair and replacement of property components to bring them up to standard.

 

Regeneration

 A wide-ranging improvement of an area or housing estate involving housing, amenities, business inducements, job creation and other factors that contribute to creating a better life for communities.

 

Registered Social Landlord (RSL)

An independent landlord (including housing associations, housing cooperatives, co-ownership societies, etc.) registered with the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) and recognised as an organisation that owns and manages houses in Scotland on a not-for-profit basis.

 

Registered Tenants Organisation (RTO)

Introduced as part of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, Registered Tenants Organisations (RTOs) are formally elected groups of tenants, who meet the criteria set out in Scottish Government guidance and who formally represent the views of tenants to landlords.

 

Regulations

These are rules that an organisation must follow to comply with the law. E.g., Building Regulations set the rules and minimum standards around construction that must be followed to keep people safe.

 

Re-let

The process of preparing an existing house for letting, ensuring it meets the lettable standard and then finding a tenant for that house.

 

Rent Arrears

The amount of rent a tenant has not paid to the landlord on time and which is still unpaid.

 

Rent Officer

A government official employed by Rent Service Scotland who decides and registers private sector rents. They also set the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) for a local area and adjudicate on rent increases for tenants with a Private Residential Tenancy.

 

Rent Restructuring

The process of looking at the existing rent structure and identifying any changes that might be needed to make sure rents are fair.

 

Rent Structure

The system by which different rents are charged for different property types owned by a landlord. Often it is worked out based on house size and type, but might also include area, level of amenity and quality of the environment.

 

Repossession

A legal process whereby a lender takes back legal ownership of a property because the borrower has not paid the instalments on the loan or mortgage. This term is also used for evictions by landlords.

 

Residual Debt

This is the debt that remains if a landlord decides to sell its housing stock for a price less than the current debt owed on the houses.

 

Restriction of Liberty Orders (RLO)

The conditions of a sentence (or part of a sentence) imposed by a criminal court conviction that confines an offender to a particular place for up to 12 hours per day or restricts him or her from a specific area.  This is also known as ‘tagging’ as it is monitored by an electronic device or “tag” attached to the ankle.

 

Retail Price Index

The Retail Price Index (RPI) is currently used to guide various prices and incomes including tax allowances, state benefits and pensions. It is also commonly used as a baseline to determine proposals for annual rent increases.

 

Revenue Expenditure     

The spending of money to meet day-to-day costs such as reactive repairs, housing staff and loan charges – the opposite of capital expenditure.

 

Right First Time

A repair standard, measured by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR), where a repair was fully completed at the first visit because the contractor had all the necessary equipment.

 

Right to a Written Lease

Landlords under various types of current tenancy in Scotland (including Scottish Secure, Short Scottish Secure, Private Residential) have a legal obligation to provide the tenant with a written tenancy agreement.

 

Right to Compensation

Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 and regulations made for Improvements under the powers contained in that Act, tenants with a Scottish Secure Tenancy (SST) or a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy (SSST) are entitled in specific circumstances to receive compensation from their landlord for certain improvements which they have made to their home on, or after, 30 September 2002, which were done with the prior permission of their landlord.

 

Right to Manage

A scheme defined in law that sets rules to allow a group of secure tenants to set up a tenant management cooperative to manage their homes. Requires the approval and consent of the landlord.

 

Right to Repair

A scheme defined in law that sets rules to allow a tenant with a Scottish Secure Tenancy (SST) or a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy (SSST) to order their own repair and the landlord pays for it. The repair must fall within a specified list of repairs, the tenant must follow a specific process and to follow specific time limits. The repair must cost less than £350 and the contractor must be on an approved list held by the landlord.

 

Right to Succession to Tenancies

The rules for succession to tenancies after the death of a tenant are legally based according to what is specified in the tenancy agreement.

An adult who is part of a household at the time of the tenant’s death may have a right to have the tenancy transferred to him/her/them.

Different rules apply to different types of tenancies. From November 2019, to qualify for succession to a Scottish Secure Tenancy, the person (unless they are the spouse or civil partner of the deceased or a joint tenant with the deceased) must have lived in the house as their only or principal home for a minimum of 12 months and the landlord must have been notified that the person has been living in the house for that period.

 

Ring-fenced

Where money can only be spent on a particular service. For example, the Housing Revenue Account cannot be used to pay for education or transport services as it is designated specifically for spending on housing services.

 

Risk Assessment

Where potential risks in a workplace or planned activity such as an activity or event are identified, and action is taken to remove or reduce the level of that risk.

 

Risk Management

Process of identifying and managing potential risks to the delivery of a project or service.

 

Rough Sleeping

When someone sleeps or beds down in the open air (such as on the streets, or in doorways, parks, or bus shelters), or somewhere not designed for habitation (such as barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, or stations).

 

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO)

A Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (or SCIO) is an optional legal form for registered Scottish charities. A SCIO provides a high degree of protection against liability and can enter into contracts, employ staff, incur debts, own property, sue and be sued. It is administered and regulated solely by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (‘OSCR’).

 

Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR)

The independent regulator of social housing services. They are responsible for assessing and reporting on how all landlords are performing (including local authority landlords), and the financial wellbeing and standard of governance of Registered Social Landlords. They can intervene to secure improvements where necessary.

 

Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS)

The SHQS was introduced in 2004. It is the minimum standard which all social rented properties must meet.

 

Scottish Landlord Register

Each local authority has a duty to compile and publish a register of private landlords in their area.

 

Scottish Secure Tenancy (SST)

Introduced on 30 September 2002, the Scottish Secure Tenancy became the new standard tenancy for all new tenancies in the social rented sector. The Scottish Government have provided a model SST agreement which can be used by local authorities and registered social landlords when creating the tenancy, setting out the rules that allow a tenant to occupy the house and describing the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and landlord. In most cases the SST is open ended and can only be ended by either the tenant giving notice or for reasons specified in law known as grounds for eviction.  For an SST, the grounds for eviction are,

    1. Rent arrears or breaking your tenancy agreement,
    2. Using the house for immoral or illegal purposes or other criminal offences,
    3. Deterioration of the property or common parts,
    4. Deterioration of furniture,
    5. You are absent from the property,
    6. You made a false statement to obtain the property,
    7. Antisocial behaviour or conduct amounting to harassment.

 

There are also management grounds (8 to 15) where a landlord who wishes to remove you from your home is legally obliged to offer you an alternative property that meets your needs.

 

    1. Nuisance, annoyance or conduct amounting to harassment,
    2. The house is overcrowded,
    3. Demolition of, or substantial work on, the property,
    4. The property is designed or adapted for people with special needs,
    5. The property is part of a group designed or located near facilities for people with special needs,
    6. The landlord has leased the property,
    7. The landlord is an islands council and the property is for an education worker,

This ground applies only to tenants renting from the Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands or Western Isles Councils. If you live in property that’s reserved for an education worker but you aren’t one, you can be evicted and re-housed if the property is needed for a new education worker.

    1. The landlord wants to transfer the property.

The landlord may wish to transfer the property to your (ex) husband, (ex) wife, (ex) civil partner or opposite sex or same sex cohabitee, if you no longer want to live together.

 

Scottish Short Secure Tenancy (SSST)

Scottish Short Secure Tenancy is sometimes considered a form of probationary tenancy. It runs for a minimum of 6 months but in some circumstances can be renewed or converted to an SST.

You may have a SSST instead of an SST because:

in the last three years you have been evicted from a previous tenancy because of antisocial behaviour or you or a member of your household has had an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) served against you (in this situation there will be services available such as counselling to support you during the duration of your tenancy)

  • you have a let of six months or more with support to help you sustain your tenancy (this could include debt and financial advice if you have previously had problems with rent arrears, or other forms of counselling)
  • you are homeless and have been offered temporary accommodation for six months or more
  • the property you will be living in is going to be developed.

 

Scottish Social Housing Charter (SSHC)

The Scottish Social Housing Charter was introduced by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 and came into force in April 2012. Updated in 2017, the charter sets out the standards and outcomes that all social landlords should be achieving for their customers when performing their housing activities.

 

Section 5 Referrals

Section 5 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 places a statutory duty on Registered Social Landlords to supply accommodation to homeless people referred to them by the local authority.

 

Sequestration

Also known as bankruptcy, sequestration is a form of insolvency designed to be used only as a last resort and when an individual is genuinely unable to meet their unsecured debt.

 

Service Charge

An amount paid on top of a tenants rent to cover the cost of added services or amenities. For example, a service charge might be issued to tenants in a tenement to cover cleaning of the common areas.

 

Service Level Agreements

An agreement between a service provider and a service user setting out the standard of service to be provided. SLAs should include,

  1. Service description: What does the service provider do?
  2. Reliability: When should the service be available?
  3. Responsiveness: How quickly should services be delivered?
  4. Reporting procedure: How and to whom should problems be reported? What reporting process is used in routine tasks (if any)?
  5. Performance monitoring: How will performance be monitored, who will monitor it, and how will it be measured?
  6. Penalties for failure to meet obligations: What penalties will be implemented if the service provider does not perform as stipulated?
  7. Constraints: Under what circumstances will the terms of the service level agreement be waived?

 

Shared Equity

Where a loan is provided for part of the value of your home, and you take out a mortgage for the rest. When you go on to sell your home the loan must be repaid based on the sale value. For example, if the loan was for 30% of the purchase price then 30% of the re-sale value should be repaid.

 

Shared Ownership

Where a person buys part of a house and rents the rest from the property developer or landlord.

 

Sheltered Housing

A house designed for people who want to live independently but require extra support.

 

Sheriff

The name in Scotland for the Judge who sits in the Sheriff Court.

 

Sheriff Court

A Sheriff Court is the principal local, civil, and criminal court in Scotland. The Sheriff Court has jurisdiction over all civil cases with a monetary value up to £100,000.

Each has Sheriff Court covers a specific geographical area.
Registered social landlords wanting to evict a tenant from their property must present the case to the Sheriff at the Sheriff Court local to the property in question.

 

Sist

A term in Scots Law for a court order temporarily stopping or suspending proceedings.

 

Skipper

An area where someone who is rough sleeping regularly beds down for the night.

 

Social Housing

Housing provided by local authorities and Registered Social Landlords that is rented at an affordable level.

 

Social Inclusion

A wide-ranging term to cover all the things that are needed to help people engage with their communities and play an active part in society regardless of social, economic, or structural barriers.

 

Social Inclusion Partnership (SIP)

A range of organisations and local people who work together to deliver services needed to enable an individual to play an active part in society.

 

Sofa Surfing

A form of homelessness where people make temporary casual arrangements to sleep on a friend of family member’s sofa or floor. Also known as Couch Surfing.

 

Space Standards

The regulated minimum size and type of rooms a landlord should plan to deliver when designing a new house.

 

Special General Meeting (SGM)

A meeting held because the members of the organisation wish to discuss, and reach a decision about, an urgent matter that cannot wait for the Annual General Meeting.

 

Specification

A written outline of standards that a landlord requires a contractor to reach when delivering a service or carrying out work.

 

Stakeholder

A person who has an interest in or benefit from what a service or landlord is doing. This can include service users, tenants, contractors etc.

 

Standard

A guideline, specification, or measure.

 

Standing Orders

A set of rules that control how an organisation will conduct its meetings.

 

Statutory

A word used to describe something set down in an Act of Parliament. For example, a Registered Social Landlord has a statutory duty to keep a house wind and watertight, a duty set down in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.

 

Steering Group

A short-term working group set up to oversee the delivery of a specific task or a strategy. Steering Groups usually disband once the task is completed.

 

Stock

Housing owned by a landlord.

 

Stock Transfer

A process by which an existing landlord sells (or transfers ownership of) tenanted houses to another Registered Social Landlord or another alternative landlord.

 

Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP)

A local authority’s priorities for developing new affordable homes in their area to support the Local Housing Strategy. These plans are sent to the Scottish Government to agree a 3-year programme of development funding.

 

Strategy

A plan for moving towards an agreed goal or aim.

 

Sub-letting

When a tenant lets all or part of their home to another person (who becomes known as a “sub-tenant”) for agreed periods of time.

In most tenancies, including SSTs and PRTs, the tenant must obtain prior permission from the landlord.

From November 2019, if requesting to sub-let an SST, the tenant must have lived in the property for a minimum of 12 months before a sublet can be considered for approval.

 

Subsidiary

A company that is owned and controlled by another (parent) company. Within a housing context a subsidiary company cannot be a Registered Social Landlord unless the parent company is also a Registered Social Landlord. For example, a financial services company cannot be the parent company of a Registered Social Landlord subsidiary.

 

Succession

The right to pass the tenancy of a house over to someone else after the death of the tenant.

Rights to succession are set out in law for SSTs and PRTs and can also be outlined in a tenant’s tenancy agreement.

With effect from November 2019, to qualify for succession to an SST, the person must have lived in the house as their only or principal home for a minimum of 12 months prior to the death of the tenant and the landlord must have been notified that the person has been living in the house for that period.

There is no qualifying period for succession for the tenant’s spouse, civil partner, or joint tenant.

 

Summons

Either (i) A document setting out the particulars of a civil court case against a person who must respond to it, or (ii) A document given or sent to a person which requires them to attend court on a specific date either as party to case or as a witness (in this situation it can also be called a “citation”).

 

Supported Accommodation

A property that is linked to support staff (either present in the building or on call) who supply support to a tenant to help them to manage their home.

 

Sustainable Housing

 Housing which is designed, built, and kept in an energy efficient way to reduce the impact on the environment.

 

Sustainable Housing on Release for Everyone (SHORE) Standards

A set of standards designed to ensure that people leaving prison can access services and accommodation in the same way as people living in the community.

 

Task Group

A group of people brought together for a short time to carry out one specific job.

 

Temporary Accommodation (Temp)

Accommodation provided by or on behalf of a local authority to a person who has presented as homeless while that homeless case is being assessed, or in an emergency that displaces someone from their home. Temporary accommodation may also be supplied longer term if someone is accepted as being homeless but there is no appropriate settled accommodation for them to move into.
Different types of temporary accommodation include:

  • night/winter shelters,
  • hostels,
  • B&Bs,
  • women’s refuges,
  • private and social housing.

Each type of temporary accommodation has its own rules on access and lengths of stay and may not always be right for the individuals staying in them.

 

Tenancy

A general term describing a property or land being leased from another person in exchange for an agreed payment.

 

Tenancy Agreement

A written legal agreement between a landlord and a tenant about the occupancy of a house which sets out the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant.

 

Tenancy Deposit

A payment taken by a private landlord before the start of a tenancy as a security against any damage caused to the property by the tenant or as security for any unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy.

 

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

All private landlords and letting agents taking tenancy deposits in Scotland must safeguard them within a special account called a government approved tenancy deposit scheme. The aim of the scheme is to protect both tenants and landlords by ensuring tenants’ deposits are returned to them at the end of the lease, unless there is damage to the property or rent arrears owed.

Deposit schemes also offer a free dispute resolution process to resolve arguments over any deductions made from the deposit when at the end of the tenancy.

 

Tenants Handbook

A guidebook for tenants that explains the services tenants can expect from their landlord.

 

Tenure

How the relationship between who owns a property and who lives in it can be defined. For example, common tenure types are rental from a local authority or registered social landlord, rental from a private landlord, and owner occupation.

 

Thematic Enquiry

A detailed examination of all the available evidence relating to a particular topic.

A Thematic Enquiry is carried out annually by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR). Each Thematic Enquiry looks at a specific area of practice. The SHR observes how the area of practice is carried out by several landlords and reports publicly.

 

Third Sector

Non-profit groups that work for the public good and are not run by the government or local authorities (public sector) or aiming to make profits for shareholders (private sector) make up the Third Sector. Charities, community groups and social enterprises work in the third sector.

 

Timescales

The length of time planned to carry out a task or number of tasks.

 

Tolerable Standard

A minimum quality standard set down in law which every property must meet to be fit for a person to live in.

 

Transfer Agreement

Legal agreement between a local authority and the prospective new landlord which sets out the terms and conditions of a housing stock transfer.

 

Transfer List

A list of existing tenants of one landlord who are looking to move to another property owned by the same landlord.

 

Trustee

(i) A person appointed by the court to administer someone’s assets and repay their debts, or (ii) a person who is part of a board or directorship that has the overall legal responsibility for a charity.
The law describes charity trustees as ‘the persons having the general control and management of the administration of a charity.

 

UK Government

The Prime Minister and Cabinet in Westminster responsible for non-devolved matters such as immigration, Foreign Policy, or Defence.

 

Under Occupation

Where a household in social housing is considered to have one or more bedrooms than they need for their household type and size.

 

Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is a single benefit for working-age people, introduced in stages across the country as part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 that merges six benefits into one payment. It is usually paid one month in arrears. It combines income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, housing benefit, child tax credit and working tax credit.

It is intended that UC will be in place across the whole of the UK by 2023.

 

Valuation

The value of a property set by a surveyor.

 

Valuation – Open Market

The likely price a house would sell at if offered with vacant possession to the public.

 

Valuation – Tenanted Market Value

The suggested price a house would sell at where it is already tenanted or can only to be used for letting to tenants.

 

Value for Money (VFM)

A term used to measure the quality and performance of services provided against the cost of delivering them.

 

Void

A house that is empty or unlet.

 

Waiting List

Informal description of a list of individuals who have completed an application form and are looking to be offered a home by a landlord.

 

Walkabouts

Opportunity for tenants and others to “walk about” their communities with housing staff and representatives of other organisations, agencies, or services to highlight issues or concerns and work together to develop solutions and agree priorities for expenditure.

 

Welfare Reform

The collective name for the changes made to the social security system under the Welfare Reform Act, 2012.

 

White Paper

A policy document that sets out the government’s proposals for each piece of future legislation.  The document often includes a draft Bill and supplies the opportunity for the government to consult on their proposals and make amendments before presenting the Bill to Parliament.

 

Workshop

A learning tool where a group of people come together to hear information about a particular topic and then take part in discussions, activities and/or question and answer sessions to find out more about the topic.

It can also be a process where ideas are explored, or solutions improvised before they are tried out on a group or are used to form a strategy.

 

Key Housing and Homelessness Words

Things can quickly become confusing when talking about housing and homelessness as there are many uses of industry-specific jargon that can get in the way of clear communication.
Below is a list of words, concepts, abbreviations and acronyms commonly used in housing and homelessness and an explanation of what they mean.

 


 

Abandoned House/ Abandonment

An empty property where the tenant has left without giving notice to their landlord of their intention to leave and has stopped paying rent. This is also known informally as doing a “moonlight flit.”

 

Abatement of Rent

A temporary reduction in the amount of rent paid, e.g., a landlord might reduce the rent for a temporary period if a part of the property cannot be used or if the landlord is causing the tenant an inconvenience.

 

Absentee Landlord

A landlord who does not live in the property they rent out, and who rarely visit it or pay it any attention. This often goes hand in hand with the property not receiving essential repairs and maintenance.

 

Acquisition

When a large organisation buys or has transferred property or land with the intention to rent it out.

 

Action Plan

A list of measures that a landlord or other agency intends to do to change something or implement a policy.

 

Adapted Housing

Property that has been physically changed, or intentionally built, to include features that make it more practical for someone with a disability or additional support need to live there, e.g., widened doors and level access for wheelchair users.

 

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are stressful events occurring in childhood including;

  • domestic violence,
  • parental abandonment through separation or divorce,
  • a parent with a mental health condition,
  • being the victim of abuse (physical, sexual and/or emotional),
  • being the victim of neglect (physical and emotional),
  • a member of the household being in prison,
  • growing up in a household in which there are adults experiencing alcohol and drug use problems.

A higher number of ACEs is seen to increase the risk of homelessness in later life.

 

Advice and Assistance

Everyone who makes a homeless application is entitled to advice and assistance in finding a housing solution. This could be in the form of housing, financial, legal or welfare advice, or practical help with their situation. It is the basic help every homeless applicant should expect.

 

Affordability Test

A calculation made by a landlord or government agency to assess how much money a tenant could reasonably be expected to pay in rent without being forced into extreme poverty. Affordable means a household should spend no more than a third of its income (after tax and benefits) on housing costs.

 

Affordable Housing

(i) Rented housing where the amount of rent payable is set below the local market rate. This can include Mid-Market Rents from the for-profit sector as well as Local Authority or Registered Social Landlords rents.

(ii) Low cost housing, including shared ownership schemes, which are available buy at below local market rates.

 

Allocations/Allocation Policy

A set of rules a social landlord uses for deciding who should get housed when one of their properties is ready for a new tenant.

It is a legal obligation for every Registered Social Landlord to have a published Allocations Policy which is reviewed regularly to ensure it is still fair and doesn’t break the law.

 

Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA)

This is a when changes are made to the way in which Universal Credit (UC) is paid instead of being paid directly each month to the lead claimant/head of household as is standard. Currently there are three types of APA available:

  • direct payment of the housing element of UC to landlords (this is known as Managed Payments to Landlord -MPTL)
  • splitting of payment between members of a couple (spouses or cohabiting partners)
  • more frequent schedule of benefit payments (e.g., weekly, or fortnightly)

Landlords can also ask the DWP to make deductions directly from a claimant’s Universal Credit allowance to pay back any rent arrears. This can be done using the APA request form at the time of application or later in the tenancy.

Deductions are a minimum of 10% to a maximum of 20% of a claimant’s Universal Credit standard allowance.

 

Amenity Housing

A property with special features, such as level access wet room bath/shower room, or lower kitchen worktop height, to help a tenant to maintain an independent life. (See also Adapted Housing.)

 

Annual Report

A report produced by an organisation, such as a landlord, or tenants and residents’ group, which sets out what key actions took place over the previous year. It may also include a report of performance and details of accounts.

 

Annual Return on the Charter (ARC)

A yearly report each Registered Social Landlord must produce for the Scottish Housing Regulator to show progress they have made in meeting the targets/outcomes in the Scottish Social Housing Charter. The ARC must also be made available to tenants.

 

Annual Report to Tenants

A report Registered Social Landlords must provide to tenants outlining the organisation’s performance over the past financial year. This should include details of the ARC and a comparison of at least two years’ data to give context and make it easier to see progress or areas for development.

 

Antisocial Behaviour (ASB)

Antisocial behaviour is any activity that that causes harm, distress, alarm, nuisance, or annoyance to an individual or community or to the wider local area.

This could be an action by someone else that leaves another person or persons feeling endangered, alarmed, harassed, or distressed. It also includes fear of crime or concern for public safety, public disorder, or public nuisance.

Several different of Acts of Parliament have set out a range of actions Registered Social Landlords can take when dealing with antisocial behaviour by tenants or their visitors. These actions can include eviction, but eviction isn’t the only remedy available.

 

Antisocial Behaviour Contract (ABC)

A written agreement made between a landlord and an individual believed to be involved in antisocial behaviour where the tenant/individual agrees to make changes to their behaviour and stop any antisocial activity.

The agreement is not legally binding, however should the tenant/individual break the terms of the agreement then formal legal action is a potential consequence.

 

Antisocial Behaviour Notice (ASBN)

An Antisocial Behaviour Notice can be served from a Local Authority to any private landlord operating in the area where a private tenant’s antisocial behaviour has been reported. The ASBN details the action a private landlord must take to address antisocial behaviour taking place within their property.

 

Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBO)

A legal order granted by the sheriff court after an application is made by either a local authority or Registered Social Landlord that has specific terms intended to stop any person over the age of 12 from acting in an antisocial manner.

Getting an ASBO does not mean someone has been convicted of a crime, and it won’t be part of a criminal record.  However, it is a crime to breach (break the terms of) an ASBO which can be punished by a prison sentence, a community payback order or a fine. It may also lead to eviction.

 

Antisocial Behaviour Strategy

A jointly prepared, published strategy from local authorities and the Chief Constable setting out how they plan to tackle antisocial behaviour within their areas. The strategy must be reviewed and revised regularly.

 

Arrears

Money owed to a landlord from a tenant where the tenant has missed or underpaid their rent.

 

Asset

Property or land that has a commercial value owned by a person or company.

 

Asset Management

The process for operating, maintaining, and upgrading physical assets, such as housing stock, in a cost-effective way to        maximise financial returns, minimise financial risk and meet the needs of current and future tenants.

 

Assignation of Tenancy

The process where a tenancy is passed from the current tenant to a specific new tenant (e.g., when an adult child takes on the tenancy of their deceased parent.) In social housing this can only happen with the landlord’s consent.

 

Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO)

The representative body for Scottish local authority housing. The chief housing officer from each council attends regular meetings to discuss key housing issues affecting local authorities across Scotland.

 

BAME

A commonly used acronym for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities or individuals. Sometimes further shortened to BME.

 

Bedroom Tax

An informal name for a measure introduced in the Welfare Reform Act 2012, by which the amount of housing benefit is reduced if the property a person is renting is judged to have more bedrooms than they need.

Housing Benefit could be reduced if you live in social rented housing and have a spare bedroom. The reduction is:

  • 14% of the ‘eligible rent’ for one spare bedroom
  • 25% of the ‘eligible rent’ for two or more spare bedrooms

Because most benefits budgets are a reserved matter for Westminster to decide the Scottish Government cannot unilaterally scrap the Bedroom Tax. Instead, it has chosen to mitigate its impact in Scotland by providing local authorities with added discretionary housing payment (DHP) funding. DHPs are used to help tenants in financial hardship to pay their rent.

 

Below Tolerable Standard (BTS)

A house falling below the “tolerable standard” which is the minimum quality standard for all housing in Scotland set down in law.

 

Breakage Cost

A cost for repaying a loan early to a bank or other lender.

 

Briefing Paper

A short explanation of a policy or proposal.

 

Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA)

A BRMA is defined as “where a person could reasonably be expected to live, taking into account access to facilities and services.”  The BRMA is used to calculate applicable Local Housing Allowance levels.

There are 18 BRMAs in Scotland:

  • Aberdeen and Shire
  • Argyll and Bute
  • Ayrshires
  • Dumfries and Galloway
  • Dundee and Angus
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • Fife
  • Forth Valley
  • Greater Glasgow
  • Highland and Islands
  • Lothians
  • North Lanarkshire
  • Perth and Kinross
  • Renfrewshire/ Inverclyde
  • Scottish Borders
  • South Lanarkshire
  • West Dunbartonshire
  • West Lothian

 

Brownfield

The term generally used to describe land that has been previously developed and may be available for re-use.

 

Budget

An estimate of all income and expenditure over a defined period. Most often a financial year, but other periods can be used.

 

Building Regulations

Rules for constructing and altering houses made by the Scottish Ministers under powers contained in an Act of the Scottish Parliament.

 

Buy Back

Process where local authorities Registered Social Landlords use grants made available by the Scottish Government to buy back houses that sold under the Right-to-Buy legislation when they come up for sale on the open market. They are then usually modernised/brought up to building standards before being made available for rent.

 

Buy to Leave

Residential property bought and deliberately left empty. Often bought as an investment or for the development opportunities on the site purchased.

Some properties bought to leave can be left to fall into dereliction which then makes it easier for the property owners/developers to get the planning permission required to clear the site and redevelop.

 

Buy to Let

When a property has been bought specifically to let out, i.e., is to rent out in the Private Rented Sector. Buy to let properties are usually residential but the term also includes student accommodation investments, and hotel room investments.

 

Calling Up Notice

A formal written notice issued by the lender to the borrower warning that the lender is about to go to court to repossess the property. This is usually because of non-payment of mortgage instalments.

 

Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s allowance is a benefit available to people on low incomes who care for an adult or disabled child for over 35 hours a week.

 

Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland (CIHS)

CIHS is the representative body for housing professionals in Scotland.

 

Choice Based Lettings (CBL)

A method of housing allocation where applicants bid on available properties. Once the bidding closes, the applicant considered to have the greatest need from all who applied (based on factors such as vulnerability, disability, etc., often using a points-based system) is offered the tenancy.

 

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) are members of a network of free information and advice providers and give free information and advice to people on issues such as benefits, debt, consumer rights and family law.

 

Closing Order

A closing order can be issued by a local authority if a house is below a “tolerable standard” (i.e., not fit to live in) but is part of a building in which other properties are not.

An example might be where a flat within a block has been neglected and is no longer wind and watertight, leading to problems with its structural integrity but other flats within the same block have been better maintained.

Any landlord issued with a closing order must ensure it is brought up to standard before renting it out again. It is a criminal offence to continue to live there or to allow anyone to live there without all necessary repairs being completed and inspected.

 

Closure Notice

Under the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 the police have powers to serve a closure notice to prevent people other than the owner or the usual residents from entering any premises reported where there has been a repeated focus of antisocial behaviour.

 

Code of Guidance

The Code of Guidance is a Scottish Government document that sets out both statutory duties and good practice guidelines to help local authorities in meeting their duties to help people who are threatened with or who are experiencing homelessness.

 

Common Housing Register (CHR)

A single shared register of applicants for housing that can be accessed by several landlords managing housing stock in a particular area. Usually, applicants need only to complete one application form to join the CHR. They can then receive offers from any of the landlords using the register without needing to apply separately each time.

 

Community Asset Transfer (CAT)

A process by which ownership and management responsibility for land or buildings are transferred from local authorities or other public bodies to community groups.

 

Community Based Housing Association

A housing association with tenants/community representatives on the governing body or board.

 

Community Payback Orders (CPO)

Community Payback Orders (CPOs) are an alternative to a custodial (jail) sentence after a court conviction. Commonly known as Community Service, they are designed to make individuals ‘pay back’ to their communities for the damage and distress they have caused through their criminal behaviour. Most often this takes the form of several hundred hours of unpaid work.

 

Community Planning Partnership (CPP)

Led by a local authority, CPPs are made up of a group of organisations, including third sector and tenants’/residents’ associations who form a partnership to plan how local services will be delivered in their area.

 

Company Limited by Guarantee

This is a company – including third sector/non-profit organisations – that does not issue shares but is instead “guaranteed” by its members. Most commonly it is the board of directors/trustees who agree to pay a nominal sum if the company goes bust.

 

Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO)

A compulsory purchase order is an order that gives certain authorities (local authority/government/utility company/railway company) the legal power to buy your home or land from you at what they consider to be a market-led, fair valuation. The authority must follow a legal process to obtain the CPO which may include a public inquiry. Some CPOs take years to complete.

 

Concierge

A form of caretaker in a housing development, usually multi-storey flats. Often, they form part of the security measures within a block, controlling who gets access, and monitoring the area by closed circuit television (CCTV). They may supply other services to the tenants, e.g., signing for parcels etc.

 

Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest is when a member of staff or management committee member takes part in making a decision that may result in personal benefit. Most often an individual who is aware of a potential conflict of interest will notify the others in the governing body and excuse themselves from that part of decision making.

 

Consortium

A group of organisations who work in partnership with each other but who do not give up their individual identity or autonomy. Most often this form of collaboration happens when bidding to supply services commissioned by a local authority.

 

Consultation

Consultation is the process organisations and agencies use to seek the views of interested parties, e.g., people who use the service, employees, partner agencies and/or the public. It offers an opportunity for people other than decision makers to give their insights on proposed changes.

 

Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)

COSLA is a representative body for local councils in Scotland. COSLA gathers the views of member councils and communicates these to the Scottish Government, other relevant bodies, and the public.

 

Coproduction

Where a variety of people and organisations cooperate to find a shared solution. Usually, it involves people who use services being consulted, included, and working together from the start to the end of a specific piece of work.

 

Couch Surfing

A form of homelessness where people make temporary casual arrangements to sleep on a friend of family member’s sofa or floor. Also known as Sofa Surfing.

 

Crash Pad

A temporary place to sleep, especially for a single night or in an emergency.

 

Credit Union

A not-for-profit financial organisation that is owned by its members. Credit Unions offer savings accounts and loan facilities, often at lower rates than commercial banks and that can be accessed by people who might otherwise lack access to mainstream banking products such as loans or savings accounts.

 

Criminal Antisocial Behaviour Orders (CRASBO)

A form of antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) which can be imposed as part of a criminal sentence by the Sheriff Court when someone is convicted of a criminal offence.

 

Data Protection Act 2018

The Data Protection Act 2018 is the UK’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Act controls how personal information is used by organisations, businesses, or the government.           An example is that a landlord generally cannot give out tenants’ addresses and other information to a private company without the tenant’s explicit agreement.

 

Day-to-Day Repair

Repairs carried out in a single house by a landlord at the request of an individual tenant. This can also be called a responsive repair or reactive repair.

 

Debt             

Money owed.

 

Decanted

The term used when a tenant is moved temporarily from their home to allow repairs/improvements to take place.

 

Decree

A court order which sets out the final decision of a court in a case. An example might be an order allowing a landlord to evict a tenant, or an order that one person pays money to another.

 

Demand

This word is used in housing to describe the popularity and availability of housing in a defined area.

If there are more houses available to let in an area, than applicants looking to live in that area, this is sometimes described as low-demand or hard to let.

If there are lots of people seeking houses in an area, but houses do not become    available to let very often, the area is often described as high-demand.

 

Demolition Order

If a local authority has assessed that your home is below the “tolerable standard” for occupation and it cannot be repaired/ it would cost too much to be brought up to current building standards, it can issue a demolition order. The demolition order demands that you leave the property within 28 days of receiving notice, and that the property is demolished within six weeks of the order being issued.

 

Determination of a Contract

The end or finish of a contract.

 

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

This is paid by local authorities to people who receive Housing Benefit/housing component of Universal Credit but who need extra help to pay their rent.
A common example would be to mitigate the effects of the “bedroom tax”. DHP is funded by the Scottish Government but managed by each individual local authority.

 

Displacement

The shifting of a housing problem from one area to another due to an action by the landlord. A common example would be if a landlord evicts an antisocial tenant then rehouses him/her in a different area where they then cause the same problems.

 

Disturbance Allowance

A discretionary payment sometimes made by a landlord to a tenant to cover any upset due to being inconvenienced by major works.

 

Drug Treatment and Testing Order (DTTO)

DTTO is a form of community sentence (i.e., you cannot adhere to DTTO requirements if you are in prison) that can be issued when a court is satisfied that a convicted person is dependent on (or tends to misuse) drugs, and their drug use can be treated. It is overseen by a “supervising officer” from the local authority, with whom the convicted person must stay in contact and inform of any changes of address. The supervising officer will produce reports to the court on the person’s progress (which can relate to their social/financial/housing status, as well as their drug use).

 

Elected Members

A term that is used for councillors, Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP).

 

Enabler

A term for local authorities who have a duty to enable (or support) other landlords to supply housing in their areas but who do not have any housing stock of their own to manage.

 

Equality Act

The Equality Act 2010 is a UK-wide piece of legislation that became law in October 2010. It replaced and combined several pieces of earlier legislation, such as the Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

The Act provides the legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.

It prohibits discrimination based on several specific “protected characteristics.” These characteristics are defined as:

  • Age;
  • Disability;
  • Gender reassignment;
  • Marriage and civil partnership;
  • Pregnancy and maternity;
  • Race/Ethnicity;
  • Religion or belief;
  • Sex;
  • Sexual orientation.

 

Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)

An Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) involves assessing the impact of new or revised policies, practices, or services against the requirements of the public sector equality duty. The duty      references the Equality Act 2010, but also goes further in that it can also take into consideration social and economic factors such as poverty and educational opportunity/attainment.

 

Ethnic Minority

An ethnic minority is a group within a community which has a different national or cultural heritage from the predominant population.

 

Eviction

The process of removing the right of a tenant to live within a landlord’s property and of physically removing them from it.

Landlords must follow specific legal procedures before they can legally evict a tenant, either via the sheriff court or the First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber.

 

Factoring

A term related to the provision of services to manage and maintain the common areas of land/buildings owned by two or more persons. Its services may include providing and instructing repairs to common parts of a tenement, or cleaning and lighting of shared areas or stairs, as well as the upkeep of common gardens and sourcing of buildings’ insurance.

 

Fair Rent

A fair rent can apply to any accommodation, either in the Registered Social Landlord or private rented sector without a resident landlord and which was let before 2 January 1989.

The rent officer’s determination can be challenged by application to First Tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber.)

 

Financial Year

A financial year is a period of 12 months, used by government, business, and other organisations to calculate their budgets, profits, and losses. Most commonly 1 April to 31 March is used as the financial year. This is important to tenants because local authorities and Registered Social Landlords plan, organise and discuss their affairs based on financial years and not calendar years. This includes changes to rents and council tax.

 

First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber)

The First-Tier Housing Tribunal is a judicial body which deals with determinations of rent or repair issues in private sector housing as well as assistance in exercising a landlord’s right of entry. It also deals with complaints against property factors not following their duties and the relevant code of conduct.

Since December 2017, its jurisdiction was extended to also include a wide variety of disputes within the private rented sector, particularly eviction actions, payment claims by landlords against tenants, and failures by landlords to follow tenancy deposit regulations. In addition, it deals with complaints about failures of letting agents to follow a code of practice.

 

Focus Group

A method of gaining opinion from a group of people that may have an issue in common. For example, a service provider may set up a focus group of service users to find out how they feel about their experience of the service. Focus groups are often selected from a pool of volunteers.

 

Framework

The ideas, information, and principles that form the basis of an organisation or plan.

 

Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002 (FOI)

An Act of the Scottish Parliament that defines what information public sector organisations are obliged to provide on request. The Westminster Government passed the Freedom of Information Act for the United Kingdom in 2000.

 

Fuel Poverty

A household is in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on all household fuel use. If over 20% of income is spent on fuel, then this is termed as being in extreme fuel poverty.

 

Furnished Let

A property that it is rented to a tenant either fully-furnished or part-furnished. An inventory of the furnishings should be provided to the tenant on signing the lease. The furnishings form part of the tenancy agreement and the landlord is responsible for maintaining or replacing them.

 

Garden Maintenance Scheme

As set out in the Local Government and Planning (Scotland) Act 1982, local authorities must supply or make provision for gardening assistance to those requiring some help through old age, disability, or long-term illness. This is not always a free service.

 

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on 25 May 2018. It defines how businesses and public sector organisations handle, store and share the information of customers.

 

General Fund

The general fund is the main account held by local authorities into which council tax is paid. It is then used for other council services that are not funded from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) such as roads, streetlights, education, etc.

 

General Needs

Housing without any special accessible design features or adaptations. Also known as mainstream housing.

 

Green Paper

When a government department is considering introducing a new law, it will put together a discussion document called a Green Paper. This document is the first parliamentary stage in creating a law.

 

Guidance

A set of instructions, often provided by the Scottish Government or a relevant regulatory body, to help local authorities, Registered Social Landlords and other agencies ensure their practices are following the law.

 

Handbook

A set of documents given to tenants at the beginning of their tenancy outlining their rights and responsibilities and setting out the services and standards expected to be provided by the landlord throughout the tenancy. Usually incorporated into the New Tenant Pack, it includes details such as: housing officer contact information, services provided, support agency information, where to report damages or ask for repairs, landlord partner organisations etc.

 

Hand tapping

A form of street begging where someone is directly approached for money.

 

Hard to Let

Properties are considered hard to let when:

  • They are empty for a longer than expected period.
  • Demand for the property is low, or there is no demand.
  • Applicants refuse to accept offers of the property more often than offers of other properties within the landlord’s portfolio.

Reasons for this can include the property’s type, size, condition, or its location.

 

Hidden Homelessness

Homeless people who are hidden from statistics and services as they are dealing with their situation informally are described as “hidden”. This means they are staying with family and friends, sofa surfing, living in unsuitable, unsafe or overcrowded housing, or in ‘beds in sheds’ situations.

 

HL1, HL2, HL3

If a household presents themselves as homeless or threatened with homelessness (within 56 days) in Scotland, the local authority will ask them to complete a HL1 form. The HL2 system is used to collect a snapshot of households in temporary accommodation at the end of each quarter. Since 2016, it has been mandatory for local authorities to send placement level data on temporary accommodation which has formed the HL3.

 

Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG)

HARSAG was set up in 2017 to recommend to Scottish Government Ministers the actions and solutions needed to eradicate rough sleeping and transform the use of temporary accommodation in Scotland. It delivered its final report in 2018.

HARSAG also advised Ministers on how to ensure the recommendations are successfully implemented to secure rapid change and improvement towards the Government’s goals.
HARSAG was reconvened in June 2020 to give recommendations to the Scottish Government on actions needed during the coronavirus pandemic and in the future to end homelessness.

 

Homeless

The simple definition of “homeless” refers to people who have no accommodation. However, a person is also defined as homeless if:

  • they have no home in the UK or anywhere else in the world where they and their family can live together, or
  • they have no rights to live in the place they are currently staying, or
  • their right to stay in their accommodation will end within 56 days, or
  • the place where they are currently living is unsuitable or unsafe.

Homeless is not only – or even mainly – about being roofless or rough sleeping.

 

Homelessness Strategy

As part of the Local Housing Strategy, local authorities must send a strategic plan to the Scottish Government showing how they plan to prevent and alleviate homelessness in their area. This is called their Homelessness Strategy. A document setting out the strategy must also be publicly available and is usually published on a local authority’s website. It is reviewed every 5 years.

 

Household

An individual or family that occupies or wants to occupy a house.

 

Housing (Scotland) Act

An Act of the Scottish Parliament. It sets out the law about specific aspects of housing. An example is the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014. The date tells you when it was passed by parliament. Housing law was fully devolved to Scotland at the formation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

 

Housing Association

A not-for-profit landlord that is registered with and overseen by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR).

 

Housing Benefit

A social security benefit paid to help a tenant to cover either the full or partial cost of the rent due if unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits.

It has largely been replaced by Universal Credit, however in certain specific instances people still receive of Housing Benefit.

 

Housing Bill

A draft law introduced in the Scottish Parliament that makes proposed changes to Scottish housing law.
A bill becomes an act after it has been debated, amended, and agreed by the Scottish Parliament, and approved by the reigning monarch.

 

Housing Co-op

A not-for-profit landlord who is registered with the Scottish Housing Regulator and is managed either entirely or mainly by its tenants.

 

Housing First

A housing policy approach that moves rough sleepers from the streets or shelters straight into independent housing. This contrasts with other programmes where rough sleepers must deal with other issues that may have contributed to their episode of rough sleeping (e.g., addiction) before being granted independent housing.

 

Housing Needs

The difference between the type, number, and size of houses currently available in a particular area and the level of demand from current and future households.

This term could also apply to an          individual’s housing needs. For example, when a family with opposite sex children over the age of 10 needs a larger property to allow them to meet the legal requirement of having their own rooms.

 

Housing Providers

Collective term including anyone who makes houses available to rent.

 

Human Rights

Fundamental rights and freedoms defined in law by the Human Rights Act 1998.

 

Improvements

Work on a property that gives it something it did not have before. For example, replacing single glazing with double glazing, or installing a new kitchen.

 

Interdict

A court order instructing a person to stop doing something. For example, to stop causing a specified nuisance to a neighbour such as playing loud music after 10pm etc.

An Interim Interdict is a temporary version of the same court order.

 

Interim Antisocial Behaviour Order (ASBO)

A temporary ASBO granted until a full investigation by the court can take place and a full ASBO applied.

 

Joint Tenancy

Where more than one person signs the tenancy agreement and everyone signing takes responsibility for the tenancy.
Responsibility can be described as “separate” where each individual is responsible for specifically allocated responsibilities, or “joint and several” where two or more persons jointly promise in the same contract to do the same thing, but also separately promise to do the same thing. For example, if A and B promise “jointly and severally to pay” rent to C, then they are together under an obligation to pay rent to C, but they are also individually under an obligation to pay rent to C. If A does not pay, then B is obliged to. C can look to get the money owed from both A and B together, or either A or B.

For a joint tenant to be added to the tenancy agreement:

  • The proposed joint tenant must have lived in the property as their only or principal home for the 12 months before the tenant applies to the landlord for them to become a joint tenant.
  • The 12-month period cannot begin unless the landlord has been informed that the person is living in the property as their only or principal home.

 

Judicial Review

Judicial review is the process by which a court reviews a decision, action, or failure to act, by a public body or other official decision maker.

It is only available where all other legal routes have been tried, and where there are existing recognised grounds for a challenge.

 

Land Bank

Unused land owned by a landlord which is being “saved up” and/or not developed, and which may be used to build new housing at some time in the future.

 

Landlord

An individual or organisation who rents a property to someone based on a legal agreement.

 

Lease

A tenancy agreement setting out the rights, responsibilities, terms and conditions of the landlord and tenant.

 

Legislation

A law that has been agreed and passed by Parliament.

 

Lettable Standard

The basic standard that all houses must meet before they are allocated to a new tenant.

 

Local Authority

A local council that owns and manages public services, including housing, within a defined geographical area. Some local authorities in Scotland have transferred the ownership of their housing stock to an alternative landlord, however the legal responsibility for housing and homelessness matters remains with the local authority.

 

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

LHA is a benefit to help pay for private rented sector housing costs for tenants aged over 25 or families under 25 who have children. It is calculated by working out private rent levels across the BRMA.  Mathematical calculations are then applied to the list of rents to decide the LHA rate which are set as the lower of:

  • the 30th percentile on a list of rents in the broad rental market area
  • the existing LHA.

The amount of LHA payable varies across Scotland.  Payment is not based per property but per bedroom you are entitled to occupy.  Single people without children under 25 receive a version of LHA called the Shared Room Rate (SRR).
If a household’s rent is higher than the amount of LHA they receive is it the responsibility of the tenant to pay any shortfall.

 

Local Housing Strategy (LHS)

A document produced by all local authorities that considers the housing need in their area and which describes the actions they will carry out to meet that need. This covers all tenures, including owner occupied not just rented houses, so it often includes actions relating to the building of private dwellings and regeneration of areas, planning permission and zoning.

 

Low Letting Demand                        See Hard To Let

 

Mainstream Housing

Housing without any special accessible design features or adaptations. Also known as general needs housing.

 

Managed Payment to Landlord (MPTL)

Under Universal credit (UC) the housing cost component is usually paid to directly the tenant. MPTL is an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) that pays the rent directly to the landlord. This can be requested by the landlord automatically if arrears are more than 8 weeks.
MPTL may also be considered at any point during the Universal Credit claim. They may be identified at the outset by a work coach, or case manager, or at any time during the claim, such as if the claimant is struggling with the single monthly payment.

They can also be triggered by information received from the claimant, or their representative.

 

Mandate

A document signed by an individual that gives another person or agency authority to do something on their behalf.

 

Market Rent

A rent level set by a private landlord based on the maximum amount they expect to receive when offering the house on the open market.

 

Mediation

A facilitated process that aims to settle disputes by offering an opportunity to talk about what is causing problems without apportioning blame. Mediation gives people in conflict a space and time to try and understand each other’s point of view even if you don’t agree with it. The intention of mediation is to build agreement and find a way forward that is acceptable to all the people directly involved.

 

Memorandum and Articles of Association

The memorandum of association is the document that sets up the company and the articles of association set out how the company is run, governed, and owned. The articles of association include the responsibilities and powers of the directors and how the members exert control over the board of directors.

 

Mid-Market Rent (MMR)

Mid-market rent homes charge rents that are higher than the social rented sector but lower than the market rent for a particular area. MMR tenants are typically those who would not qualify for social housing but cannot afford to pay market rent or buy a property.

 

Minutes

A formal written record of a meeting. A minute should include who took part in the meeting, who was in attendance, what was discussed and any actions that were agreed.

 

Missive of Let

Sometimes used as an alternative term for a tenancy agreement.

 

Modernisation

The process of improving the physical condition of housing stock to bring it up to current standards and expectations, often applied to refurbishments of interiors and plumbing/wiring.

 

Mortgage

A particular type of loan used to buy a house or flat secured on the property and based on a percentage of its valuation. This means that if you default on the loan (miss payments) the lender can repossess the property.

 

Mutual Exchange

Where a council or housing association tenant agrees to swap their home permanently with another tenant. Mutual exchanges require landlord approval and can happen between tenants throughout the United Kingdom, not just within Scotland.

 

New Tenant Pack

Information and advice pack provided by landlords to new tenants that includes details such as: officer contact information, services provided, support agency information, etc.

 

Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPB)

A body which has a role in national government but is not a government department or part of one, and which works at arm’s length from Ministers.

 

Non-Executive Directors

Directors of an organisation, including some Registered Social Landlords, who are not members of staff of that organisation.

 

Not-for-profit

This means that no one involved in the organisation can take any income beyond staff salaries and expenses. Extra income or surplus in any one year can be kept in reserve for the future unless grant conditions dictate that any underspend is to be returned.

 

No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF)

A person will have no recourse to public funds when they are ‘subject to immigration control’, as defined at section 115 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. A person who is subject to immigration control cannot claim public funds (including benefits and housing assistance) unless an exception applies.

 

Notice of Proceedings for Recovery of Possession (NPRP)

A formal notice of a landlord’s intention to raise court action for eviction in the Sheriff Court.

 

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)

The independent regulator and registrar of Scottish charities.

 

Ombudsman

An official appointed to investigate complaints against a company or organisation, especially a public authority. For social housing in Scotland the ombudsman is the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO)

 

Open Market Acquisition Scheme (OMAS)

The Open Market Acquisition Scheme is a Scottish Government initiative that makes grants available for local authorities to buy houses for sale on the open market and make them available for rent to applicants on their waiting list.  When the properties are former local authority or Registered Social Landlord houses it can sometimes also be referred to as a ‘buy-back’ scheme.

 

Outstanding Debt

If a landlord decides to sell its housing stock for a price less than the current debt on the houses the difference between the price paid and the size of the debt is termed the outstanding debt. It can also be referred to as Residual Debt.

 

Overcrowding

When a household is living in a property that has fewer bedrooms than they need for the size of their household this is defined in law as overcrowding. Statutory Overcrowding is considered a form of homelessness.

 

Owner Occupier

A person who owns or has a mortgage on the property that they live in.

 

Parenting Order

These orders were introduced in the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004. They require parents to intervene to change or improve their child’s anti-social behaviour and/or their own behaviour. Often orders require parents to attend counselling, mediation, or parenting classes.  Repeated or serious breaches of Parenting Orders can lead to ASBOs and ultimately eviction.

 

Parliament

The body of politicians that debates and agrees legislation for Scotland (Scottish Parliament) and the UK (Westminster Parliament). Some matters such as defence and social security benefits are reserved, which means that Westminster makes the decisions. Other matters, such as health and education are controlled by the Scottish Government. Housing and homelessness is the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament.

 

Participatory Budgeting (PB)

Where the control of community budgets is passed from the council or registered social landlord to be managed by local groups.
For example, Participatory Budgeting can also be used to enable a democratically elected group of local people to decide on how parts of the housing service budget should be spent in their area.

 

Partial Stock Transfer

This is when a local authority decides to keep ownership of some of its houses and sell others to one or more different landlords.

 

Particular Needs

This is where an individual or household has a need that requires a particular or distinct solution. For example, someone who uses a wheelchair has a particular need for an adapted property.

 

Partnership

Organisations formally working together towards a common aim or goal.

 

Peer Review Process

(i) A system used by similar organisations to compare the way in which a service is delivered with a view to adopting best practice. This is also called bench-marking.

(ii) An academic process where research is considered by others working in the same field to ensure academic rigour and relevance.

 

Place Making

A term used to describe the process of making communities attractive places to live and work It involves thinking about roads, footpaths, houses, shops, amenities, greenspaces, housing density, etc.

 

Planning Permission

A local authority process to assess whether a landlord, individual or developer can build or carry out major alterations that affect the internal or external structure of buildings.

 

Pre-Tenancy Determination of Rent  

A rental valuation by the independent rent officer provided to a private tenant before they take up a tenancy. This lets the tenant know how much of the rent will be covered by Housing Benefit/ the housing component of Universal Credit.

 

Prevent1

In Scotland, the Prevent1 data collection system gathers information on the operation of ‘Housing Options’ services that are made available when households seek assistance for housing-related issues, and which can be used by local authorities as a means of delivering statutory duties around the provision of advice and information for the prevention of homelessness.

 

Private Residential Tenancy (PRT)

Introduced on 1 December 2017, the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) became the standard tenancy agreement for all new tenancies in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). It was introduced by the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.

 

Property Type

The range of dwellings that make up a landlord’s housing stock. For example:

  • Bungalow – a single-storey house.
  • Common entry (or tenement) flats – flats in buildings of up to four storeys that share a main entry, with each flat accessed from a common landing or stair.
  • Detached house – a house that doesn’t have any shared walls with other properties.
  • Semi-detached house – a house that shares a dividing wall with one neighbour.
  • End terraced house – a house at the end of a row of houses that are joined together.
  • Mid terraced house – a house that shares dividing walls with neighbours on either side.
  • 4-in-a-block (or cottage) flat – single-storey flats with own front door.
  • Multi-storey blocks – flats in buildings of more than four floors that share a main entry, with each individual flat accessed from a common landing.
  • Town House – a single house built over more than two floors.

 

Protected Characteristics

The Equality Act 2010 sets out nine protected characteristics against which landlords and other bodies should not discriminate when developing policies or delivering services.

These characteristics are:

  • age;
  • sex;
  • race;
  • disability;
  • pregnancy and maternity;
  • marital status;
  • sexual orientation;
  • gender reassignment;
  • religious background.

 

Public Enquiry

A review of a decision made by a public body such as a local authority, held in public and chaired by an independent person appointed by the First Minister of the Scottish Government.

 

Public Expenditure

Money spent by a government, local authority, or any other public organisation.

 

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability insurance covers the cost of claims made by

members of the public for incidents that occur in connection with business activities, e.g., it will insure landlords against compensation payments and legal costs if a member of the public (tenant, supplier, or passer-by) is injured directly or indirectly by a local authority.

 

Public Sector Borrowing Requirement (PSBR)

The amount of money government and public bodies needs to borrow to help finance national and local public services, including local authority housing. PSBR is technically the budget gap between what the government gets as income and what it is committed to spend.

 

Pursuer

The term used in some Scottish civil court actions to describe the individual or organisation who has raised a legal action against another individual or organisation.

 

Qualitative

A way of measuring how well something works by using “soft” data, such as a quality, ethos or characteristic rather than an empirically measured value e.g., opinions, testimony, feedback.

 

Quantitative

A way of measuring how well something works by using “hard” information such as numbers or statistics.

 

Quorate

The rules stating how many members of a board or committee must be present at its meetings to make any valid decisions. The committee is quorate if at least that number is present.

 

Quorum

The agreed minimum number of people who must attend a board or committee meeting before it can make any valid decisions.

 

Rapid Rehousing (RRH)

 Where homelessness cannot be prevented, Rapid Rehousing is an approach that looks to move someone assessed as homeless and with few or no assessed support needs into settled mainstream housing as quickly as possible.  RRH also aims to reduce the time spent in any form of temporary accommodation to a minimum, with as few transitions as possible.

 

­Reactive Repairs

Unplanned repairs carried out by a landlord at the request of an individual tenant or tenants. These can also be called responsive repairs or day-to-day repairs.

 

Recovery Action

The court process a landlord must go through to obtain an order to repossess a house and to evict a tenant.

 

Recovery of Possession

If a landlord is successful in the recovery action, a court order is then granted which enables the landlord to evict the tenant and the landlord to get back possession of the property.

 

Refurbishment

Large-scale repair and replacement of property components to bring them up to standard.

 

Regeneration

 A wide-ranging improvement of an area or housing estate involving housing, amenities, business inducements, job creation and other factors that contribute to creating a better life for communities.

 

Registered Social Landlord (RSL)

An independent landlord (including housing associations, housing cooperatives, co-ownership societies, etc.) registered with the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) and recognised as an organisation that owns and manages houses in Scotland on a not-for-profit basis.

 

Registered Tenants Organisation (RTO)

Introduced as part of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, Registered Tenants Organisations (RTOs) are formally elected groups of tenants, who meet the criteria set out in Scottish Government guidance and who formally represent the views of tenants to landlords.

 

Regulations

These are rules that an organisation must follow to comply with the law. E.g., Building Regulations set the rules and minimum standards around construction that must be followed to keep people safe.

 

Re-let

The process of preparing an existing house for letting, ensuring it meets the lettable standard and then finding a tenant for that house.

 

Rent Arrears

The amount of rent a tenant has not paid to the landlord on time and which is still unpaid.

 

Rent Officer

A government official employed by Rent Service Scotland who decides and registers private sector rents. They also set the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) for a local area and adjudicate on rent increases for tenants with a Private Residential Tenancy.

 

Rent Restructuring

The process of looking at the existing rent structure and identifying any changes that might be needed to make sure rents are fair.

 

Rent Structure

The system by which different rents are charged for different property types owned by a landlord. Often it is worked out based on house size and type, but might also include area, level of amenity and quality of the environment.

 

Repossession

A legal process whereby a lender takes back legal ownership of a property because the borrower has not paid the instalments on the loan or mortgage. This term is also used for evictions by landlords.

 

Residual Debt

This is the debt that remains if a landlord decides to sell its housing stock for a price less than the current debt owed on the houses.

 

Restriction of Liberty Orders (RLO)

The conditions of a sentence (or part of a sentence) imposed by a criminal court conviction that confines an offender to a particular place for up to 12 hours per day or restricts him or her from a specific area.  This is also known as ‘tagging’ as it is monitored by an electronic device or “tag” attached to the ankle.

 

Retail Price Index

The Retail Price Index (RPI) is currently used to guide various prices and incomes including tax allowances, state benefits and pensions. It is also commonly used as a baseline to determine proposals for annual rent increases.

 

Revenue Expenditure     

The spending of money to meet day-to-day costs such as reactive repairs, housing staff and loan charges – the opposite of capital expenditure.

 

Right First Time

A repair standard, measured by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR), where a repair was fully completed at the first visit because the contractor had all the necessary equipment.

 

Right to a Written Lease

Landlords under various types of current tenancy in Scotland (including Scottish Secure, Short Scottish Secure, Private Residential) have a legal obligation to provide the tenant with a written tenancy agreement.

 

Right to Compensation

Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 and regulations made for Improvements under the powers contained in that Act, tenants with a Scottish Secure Tenancy (SST) or a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy (SSST) are entitled in specific circumstances to receive compensation from their landlord for certain improvements which they have made to their home on, or after, 30 September 2002, which were done with the prior permission of their landlord.

 

Right to Manage

A scheme defined in law that sets rules to allow a group of secure tenants to set up a tenant management cooperative to manage their homes. Requires the approval and consent of the landlord.

 

Right to Repair

A scheme defined in law that sets rules to allow a tenant with a Scottish Secure Tenancy (SST) or a Short Scottish Secure Tenancy (SSST) to order their own repair and the landlord pays for it. The repair must fall within a specified list of repairs, the tenant must follow a specific process and to follow specific time limits. The repair must cost less than £350 and the contractor must be on an approved list held by the landlord.

 

Right to Succession to Tenancies

The rules for succession to tenancies after the death of a tenant are legally based according to what is specified in the tenancy agreement.

An adult who is part of a household at the time of the tenant’s death may have a right to have the tenancy transferred to him/her/them.

Different rules apply to different types of tenancies. From November 2019, to qualify for succession to a Scottish Secure Tenancy, the person (unless they are the spouse or civil partner of the deceased or a joint tenant with the deceased) must have lived in the house as their only or principal home for a minimum of 12 months and the landlord must have been notified that the person has been living in the house for that period.

 

Ring-fenced

Where money can only be spent on a particular service. For example, the Housing Revenue Account cannot be used to pay for education or transport services as it is designated specifically for spending on housing services.

 

Risk Assessment

Where potential risks in a workplace or planned activity such as an activity or event are identified, and action is taken to remove or reduce the level of that risk.

 

Risk Management

Process of identifying and managing potential risks to the delivery of a project or service.

 

Rough Sleeping

When someone sleeps or beds down in the open air (such as on the streets, or in doorways, parks, or bus shelters), or somewhere not designed for habitation (such as barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, or stations).

 

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO)

A Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (or SCIO) is an optional legal form for registered Scottish charities. A SCIO provides a high degree of protection against liability and can enter into contracts, employ staff, incur debts, own property, sue and be sued. It is administered and regulated solely by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (‘OSCR’).

 

Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR)

The independent regulator of social housing services. They are responsible for assessing and reporting on how all landlords are performing (including local authority landlords), and the financial wellbeing and standard of governance of Registered Social Landlords. They can intervene to secure improvements where necessary.

 

Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS)

The SHQS was introduced in 2004. It is the minimum standard which all social rented properties must meet.

 

Scottish Landlord Register

Each local authority has a duty to compile and publish a register of private landlords in their area.

 

Scottish Secure Tenancy (SST)

Introduced on 30 September 2002, the Scottish Secure Tenancy became the new standard tenancy for all new tenancies in the social rented sector. The Scottish Government have provided a model SST agreement which can be used by local authorities and registered social landlords when creating the tenancy, setting out the rules that allow a tenant to occupy the house and describing the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and landlord. In most cases the SST is open ended and can only be ended by either the tenant giving notice or for reasons specified in law known as grounds for eviction.  For an SST, the grounds for eviction are,

    1. Rent arrears or breaking your tenancy agreement,
    2. Using the house for immoral or illegal purposes or other criminal offences,
    3. Deterioration of the property or common parts,
    4. Deterioration of furniture,
    5. You are absent from the property,
    6. You made a false statement to obtain the property,
    7. Antisocial behaviour or conduct amounting to harassment.

 

There are also management grounds (8 to 15) where a landlord who wishes to remove you from your home is legally obliged to offer you an alternative property that meets your needs.

 

    1. Nuisance, annoyance or conduct amounting to harassment,
    2. The house is overcrowded,
    3. Demolition of, or substantial work on, the property,
    4. The property is designed or adapted for people with special needs,
    5. The property is part of a group designed or located near facilities for people with special needs,
    6. The landlord has leased the property,
    7. The landlord is an islands council and the property is for an education worker,

This ground applies only to tenants renting from the Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands or Western Isles Councils. If you live in property that’s reserved for an education worker but you aren’t one, you can be evicted and re-housed if the property is needed for a new education worker.

    1. The landlord wants to transfer the property.

The landlord may wish to transfer the property to your (ex) husband, (ex) wife, (ex) civil partner or opposite sex or same sex cohabitee, if you no longer want to live together.

 

Scottish Short Secure Tenancy (SSST)

Scottish Short Secure Tenancy is sometimes considered a form of probationary tenancy. It runs for a minimum of 6 months but in some circumstances can be renewed or converted to an SST.

You may have a SSST instead of an SST because:

in the last three years you have been evicted from a previous tenancy because of antisocial behaviour or you or a member of your household has had an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) served against you (in this situation there will be services available such as counselling to support you during the duration of your tenancy)

  • you have a let of six months or more with support to help you sustain your tenancy (this could include debt and financial advice if you have previously had problems with rent arrears, or other forms of counselling)
  • you are homeless and have been offered temporary accommodation for six months or more
  • the property you will be living in is going to be developed.

 

Scottish Social Housing Charter (SSHC)

The Scottish Social Housing Charter was introduced by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010 and came into force in April 2012. Updated in 2017, the charter sets out the standards and outcomes that all social landlords should be achieving for their customers when performing their housing activities.

 

Section 5 Referrals

Section 5 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 places a statutory duty on Registered Social Landlords to supply accommodation to homeless people referred to them by the local authority.

 

Sequestration

Also known as bankruptcy, sequestration is a form of insolvency designed to be used only as a last resort and when an individual is genuinely unable to meet their unsecured debt.

 

Service Charge

An amount paid on top of a tenants rent to cover the cost of added services or amenities. For example, a service charge might be issued to tenants in a tenement to cover cleaning of the common areas.

 

Service Level Agreements

An agreement between a service provider and a service user setting out the standard of service to be provided. SLAs should include,

  1. Service description: What does the service provider do?
  2. Reliability: When should the service be available?
  3. Responsiveness: How quickly should services be delivered?
  4. Reporting procedure: How and to whom should problems be reported? What reporting process is used in routine tasks (if any)?
  5. Performance monitoring: How will performance be monitored, who will monitor it, and how will it be measured?
  6. Penalties for failure to meet obligations: What penalties will be implemented if the service provider does not perform as stipulated?
  7. Constraints: Under what circumstances will the terms of the service level agreement be waived?

 

Shared Equity

Where a loan is provided for part of the value of your home, and you take out a mortgage for the rest. When you go on to sell your home the loan must be repaid based on the sale value. For example, if the loan was for 30% of the purchase price then 30% of the re-sale value should be repaid.

 

Shared Ownership

Where a person buys part of a house and rents the rest from the property developer or landlord.

 

Sheltered Housing

A house designed for people who want to live independently but require extra support.

 

Sheriff

The name in Scotland for the Judge who sits in the Sheriff Court.

 

Sheriff Court

A Sheriff Court is the principal local, civil, and criminal court in Scotland. The Sheriff Court has jurisdiction over all civil cases with a monetary value up to £100,000.

Each has Sheriff Court covers a specific geographical area.
Registered social landlords wanting to evict a tenant from their property must present the case to the Sheriff at the Sheriff Court local to the property in question.

 

Sist

A term in Scots Law for a court order temporarily stopping or suspending proceedings.

 

Skipper

An area where someone who is rough sleeping regularly beds down for the night.

 

Social Housing

Housing provided by local authorities and Registered Social Landlords that is rented at an affordable level.

 

Social Inclusion

A wide-ranging term to cover all the things that are needed to help people engage with their communities and play an active part in society regardless of social, economic, or structural barriers.

 

Social Inclusion Partnership (SIP)

A range of organisations and local people who work together to deliver services needed to enable an individual to play an active part in society.

 

Sofa Surfing

A form of homelessness where people make temporary casual arrangements to sleep on a friend of family member’s sofa or floor. Also known as Couch Surfing.

 

Space Standards

The regulated minimum size and type of rooms a landlord should plan to deliver when designing a new house.

 

Special General Meeting (SGM)

A meeting held because the members of the organisation wish to discuss, and reach a decision about, an urgent matter that cannot wait for the Annual General Meeting.

 

Specification

A written outline of standards that a landlord requires a contractor to reach when delivering a service or carrying out work.

 

Stakeholder

A person who has an interest in or benefit from what a service or landlord is doing. This can include service users, tenants, contractors etc.

 

Standard

A guideline, specification, or measure.

 

Standing Orders

A set of rules that control how an organisation will conduct its meetings.

 

Statutory

A word used to describe something set down in an Act of Parliament. For example, a Registered Social Landlord has a statutory duty to keep a house wind and watertight, a duty set down in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.

 

Steering Group

A short-term working group set up to oversee the delivery of a specific task or a strategy. Steering Groups usually disband once the task is completed.

 

Stock

Housing owned by a landlord.

 

Stock Transfer

A process by which an existing landlord sells (or transfers ownership of) tenanted houses to another Registered Social Landlord or another alternative landlord.

 

Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP)

A local authority’s priorities for developing new affordable homes in their area to support the Local Housing Strategy. These plans are sent to the Scottish Government to agree a 3-year programme of development funding.

 

Strategy

A plan for moving towards an agreed goal or aim.

 

Sub-letting

When a tenant lets all or part of their home to another person (who becomes known as a “sub-tenant”) for agreed periods of time.

In most tenancies, including SSTs and PRTs, the tenant must obtain prior permission from the landlord.

From November 2019, if requesting to sub-let an SST, the tenant must have lived in the property for a minimum of 12 months before a sublet can be considered for approval.

 

Subsidiary

A company that is owned and controlled by another (parent) company. Within a housing context a subsidiary company cannot be a Registered Social Landlord unless the parent company is also a Registered Social Landlord. For example, a financial services company cannot be the parent company of a Registered Social Landlord subsidiary.

 

Succession

The right to pass the tenancy of a house over to someone else after the death of the tenant.

Rights to succession are set out in law for SSTs and PRTs and can also be outlined in a tenant’s tenancy agreement.

With effect from November 2019, to qualify for succession to an SST, the person must have lived in the house as their only or principal home for a minimum of 12 months prior to the death of the tenant and the landlord must have been notified that the person has been living in the house for that period.

There is no qualifying period for succession for the tenant’s spouse, civil partner, or joint tenant.

 

Summons

Either (i) A document setting out the particulars of a civil court case against a person who must respond to it, or (ii) A document given or sent to a person which requires them to attend court on a specific date either as party to case or as a witness (in this situation it can also be called a “citation”).

 

Supported Accommodation

A property that is linked to support staff (either present in the building or on call) who supply support to a tenant to help them to manage their home.

 

Sustainable Housing

 Housing which is designed, built, and kept in an energy efficient way to reduce the impact on the environment.

 

Sustainable Housing on Release for Everyone (SHORE) Standards

A set of standards designed to ensure that people leaving prison can access services and accommodation in the same way as people living in the community.

 

Task Group

A group of people brought together for a short time to carry out one specific job.

 

Temporary Accommodation (Temp)

Accommodation provided by or on behalf of a local authority to a person who has presented as homeless while that homeless case is being assessed, or in an emergency that displaces someone from their home. Temporary accommodation may also be supplied longer term if someone is accepted as being homeless but there is no appropriate settled accommodation for them to move into.
Different types of temporary accommodation include:

  • night/winter shelters,
  • hostels,
  • B&Bs,
  • women’s refuges,
  • private and social housing.

Each type of temporary accommodation has its own rules on access and lengths of stay and may not always be right for the individuals staying in them.

 

Tenancy

A general term describing a property or land being leased from another person in exchange for an agreed payment.

 

Tenancy Agreement

A written legal agreement between a landlord and a tenant about the occupancy of a house which sets out the rights and responsibilities of both landlord and tenant.

 

Tenancy Deposit

A payment taken by a private landlord before the start of a tenancy as a security against any damage caused to the property by the tenant or as security for any unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy.

 

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

All private landlords and letting agents taking tenancy deposits in Scotland must safeguard them within a special account called a government approved tenancy deposit scheme. The aim of the scheme is to protect both tenants and landlords by ensuring tenants’ deposits are returned to them at the end of the lease, unless there is damage to the property or rent arrears owed.

Deposit schemes also offer a free dispute resolution process to resolve arguments over any deductions made from the deposit when at the end of the tenancy.

 

Tenants Handbook

A guidebook for tenants that explains the services tenants can expect from their landlord.

 

Tenure

How the relationship between who owns a property and who lives in it can be defined. For example, common tenure types are rental from a local authority or registered social landlord, rental from a private landlord, and owner occupation.

 

Thematic Enquiry

A detailed examination of all the available evidence relating to a particular topic.

A Thematic Enquiry is carried out annually by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR). Each Thematic Enquiry looks at a specific area of practice. The SHR observes how the area of practice is carried out by several landlords and reports publicly.

 

Third Sector

Non-profit groups that work for the public good and are not run by the government or local authorities (public sector) or aiming to make profits for shareholders (private sector) make up the Third Sector. Charities, community groups and social enterprises work in the third sector.

 

Timescales

The length of time planned to carry out a task or number of tasks.

 

Tolerable Standard

A minimum quality standard set down in law which every property must meet to be fit for a person to live in.

 

Transfer Agreement

Legal agreement between a local authority and the prospective new landlord which sets out the terms and conditions of a housing stock transfer.

 

Transfer List

A list of existing tenants of one landlord who are looking to move to another property owned by the same landlord.

 

Trustee

(i) A person appointed by the court to administer someone’s assets and repay their debts, or (ii) a person who is part of a board or directorship that has the overall legal responsibility for a charity.
The law describes charity trustees as ‘the persons having the general control and management of the administration of a charity.

 

UK Government

The Prime Minister and Cabinet in Westminster responsible for non-devolved matters such as immigration, Foreign Policy, or Defence.

 

Under Occupation

Where a household in social housing is considered to have one or more bedrooms than they need for their household type and size.

 

Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is a single benefit for working-age people, introduced in stages across the country as part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 that merges six benefits into one payment. It is usually paid one month in arrears. It combines income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, housing benefit, child tax credit and working tax credit.

It is intended that UC will be in place across the whole of the UK by 2023.

 

Valuation

The value of a property set by a surveyor.

 

Valuation – Open Market

The likely price a house would sell at if offered with vacant possession to the public.

 

Valuation – Tenanted Market Value

The suggested price a house would sell at where it is already tenanted or can only to be used for letting to tenants.

 

Value for Money (VFM)

A term used to measure the quality and performance of services provided against the cost of delivering them.

 

Void

A house that is empty or unlet.

 

Waiting List

Informal description of a list of individuals who have completed an application form and are looking to be offered a home by a landlord.

 

Walkabouts

Opportunity for tenants and others to “walk about” their communities with housing staff and representatives of other organisations, agencies, or services to highlight issues or concerns and work together to develop solutions and agree priorities for expenditure.

 

Welfare Reform

The collective name for the changes made to the social security system under the Welfare Reform Act, 2012.

 

White Paper

A policy document that sets out the government’s proposals for each piece of future legislation.  The document often includes a draft Bill and supplies the opportunity for the government to consult on their proposals and make amendments before presenting the Bill to Parliament.

 

Workshop

A learning tool where a group of people come together to hear information about a particular topic and then take part in discussions, activities and/or question and answer sessions to find out more about the topic.

It can also be a process where ideas are explored, or solutions improvised before they are tried out on a group or are used to form a strategy.

 

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