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CIH Scotland

New Arrivals


Housing associations and new migrants

This page is for new arrivals. If you are a housing adviser please click here for information more relevant to you.

Housing associations receive government funding to develop homes for people in need. They are regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) which sets the standards they must meet and offers guidance on good practice. They are sometimes known as 'registered social landlords'.

The SHR's Performance Standards set out what housing associations should be achieving. They contain activity standard AS1.1 which requires associations to agree that:

'We ensure that all people have fair and open access to our housing list and assessment process. We work with others to maximise and simplify access routes into our housing.'

Activity standard AS1.2 says:

'We let houses in a way that gives reasonable preference to those in greatest housing need; makes best use of available stock; maximises choice; and helps to sustain communities.'

There is also a guiding standard requiring associations to eliminate unlawful discrimination.

Housing associations are independent bodies. If they choose, they can offer all of their vacancies to local authorities, but they can also decide to allocate some of their vacancies themselves. If they do so, they must do so fairly and without discriminating and it is good practice to ensure that the needs of new migrants are met on fair terms. Unlike local councils (who must only offer new tenancies to people legally defined as eligible), they cannot choose to exclude anyone on the basis of their immigration status (see the page on housing associations and local authorities - the legal differences in relation to housing of new migrants).

If housing associations refuse to put people onto their waiting lists simply because of their immigration status, they are likely to be in breach of discrimination law (see the page on challenging discrimination). Such discrimination would also put the housing association in breach of the SHR's guiding standard and almost certainly be in conflict with their own equal opportunities and diversity policies.

And, as important, this sort of discrimination will stop housing associations doing what they are meant to do: housing people in need.

Background Topics

Chartered Institute of Housing