East Lothian Council

Housing Associations

Being a Housing Association tenant

This topic gives you an idea about what it is like to rent from a housing association, and is intended for people who are not yet in a housing association property, but are weighing up their options.For specific advice about resolving a problem that has arisen after you have become a housing association tenant, please go to 'Help for Housing Association tenants'

Tenancy Types

From 30 September 2002, all tenants of local authorities, housing associations (including tenants who are members of fully mutual co-operative housing associations), and water and sewerage authorities, will become Scottish secure tenants. There are some exceptions to this, for example, tied houses (i.e. a house you have to live in because of your job). Existing tenants whose tenancy began before that date will have a different tenancy. This leaflet explains the details.

Rent Levels

Housing Association rent levels are ordinarily slightly higher than Council rents.

Repairs and Improvements

The responsibility for repairs to housing association houses is usually shared between the association and the tenant. Often, the association is responsible for maintaining the fabric and permanent fittings of the building in good condition whereas the tenant is responsible for internal decoration, furnishings and removable fittings like clothes lines, TV aerials, curtain rails and so on. Check your own Tenancy Agreement when you sign up.

Right to Repair

Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, Scottish secure tenants and short Scottish secure tenants have the right to have small urgent repairs carried out by their landlord within a given timescale.This is called the Right to Repair scheme. The Right to Repair scheme applies to all tenants of local authorities, housing associations (including tenants who are members of fully mutual co-operative housing associations), and water and sewerage authorities.

Reporting a Repair

If you are an existing Housing Association tenant and you wish to contact your landlord about repairs, go to the section providing 'Help for Housing Association tenants'.


Support is available to help older or disabled people to continue living comfortably and independently in their own homes.  Funding is available to adapt houses to meet the needs of the tenant.  Typical adaptations carried out include putting in showers, extra heating, handrails and ramped access. Further information is available from your housing association.

If you are not currently a Housing Association tenant and you want some advice on adapting your current home so that you can remain in it, please go to our 'Home needs adapting' topic.

Home insurance to cover damage to belongings

Your landlord does not insure your furniture, belongings or decorations against theft, fire, vandalism and burst pipes. You need to take out your own household ('Home Contents') insurance (this is true for any tenure). You may want to try a price comparison website to get the best deal, such as  Money Supermarket, Go Compare, Confused.com or Compare the Market (there are others)

Transfers and mutual exchanges

Transfers – this is when you want to move to another property owned by the same landlord.  Generally, you have to go through the same process as anybody else who wishes to apply for a property - please see 'Where and how to apply to Housing Associations'  for details of applying for Homehunt.

Mutual exchange

This scheme allows tenants to exchange with other housing association and Council tenants.  If two tenants agree that they would like to swap houses, each must request this in writing and not move until the Housing Association has given its written consent for this to go ahead. For any questions regarding transfers and mutual exchanges, contact the housing association direct.

You can advertise your Housing Association or Council home on the Council and ELHA websites.

For details of applying to be a Housing Association tenant, go to 'Where and how to apply to Housing Associations'.

If you want to know more about your housing options, click on the link or call 01620 827827 and ask for your Local Housing Office - they will be happy to help

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.