Information on Housing associations

This topic gives you information regarding housing associations within East Lothian.

1. Being a housing association tenant

2. Rent

3. Repairs and improvements

4. Right to repair

5. Adaptations

6. Complaint

7. Transfers and mutual exchange

8. How associations allocate homes


1. Being a housing association tenant

Typically housing associations offer a Scottish Secure Tenancy and operate their own policies and procedures. These will be different from our policies and procedures, so you need to look at information provided by your landlord specifically. The links below will take you to information on each association’s policies and procedures such as reporting a repair, paying your rent, etc.

If you want to know the contact details for other housing associations, go to our Housing Associations' contacts page.

2. Rent

Housing Association rent levels are typically higher than council rents, however, they are often much lower than private rents.

3. Repairs and improvements

Responsibility 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.

4. Right to repair

Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, Scottish Secure tenants and Short Scottish Secure tenants have the right for small urgent repairs to be carried out by their landlord within a timescale, called the Right to Repair scheme.

5. Adaptations

Support is available to help older or disabled people live comfortably and independently in their own homes. Funding is available to adapt houses if necessary. Typical adaptations include putting in showers, extra heating, handrails and ramped access. Further information is available from your housing association.

6. Complaints

If you have already been in contact with your landlord with a complaint, and this has not been adequately resolved, you can find out more information at Shelter Scotland.

7. Transfers and mutual exchanges

Transfers – this is when you want to move to another property owned by the same landlord. Contact your association for details and how to apply.

Mutual exchange - this allows tenants to exchange with other housing association or council tenants. When two tenants agree to swap, they must get written consent. For any questions, contact your housing association. East Lothian Housing Association tenants can advertise their exchanges on the ELHA and council sites. See more here – mutual exchange.

8. How associations allocate houses

Choice Based Lettings

The three largest housing associations in East Lothian (ELHA, Homes for Life and Castle Rock/Edinvar) use online systems to allocate their properties. All have general needs and amenity houses and Castle Rock/Edinvar has sheltered houses as well. 

You can apply with ELHA at These Homes.

You can apply with Homes for Life and Castle Rock at Scotland House Search.

Registered applicants bid for the properties they are interested in. There is a regular bidding cycle. On the closing date all bids are ranked as follows

  1. Applicants who make 'best use' of the property - normally this is the right household size but for some properties it might also include people with disabilities or of a particular age - these will be stated in the advert.
  2. People with a Priority Pass, in the order of Gold (or Gold Plus if the provider uses a Gold Plus pass), Silver, then Bronze.
  3. If more than one applicant has the same level of priority pass, or there are no applicants with priority passes, first refusal goes to the customer with the longest registration.
Associations operating Points Schemes

Under the Points Scheme system, each association assesses your circumstances against criteria and awards points. The higher the points, the greater your housing priority.

For contact details for these associations, see Housing Associations in East Lothian.

The council's "nomination" agreements

We may ‘nominate’ tenants from our own housing list to certain Housing Association vacancies. As a result of the increased use of choice based systems, we operate two types of nominations agreement. One is for choice-based associations and the other for those who operate a more traditional approach to allocating housing. However whatever the allocations approach of the association:

  • The council and the housing association must agree the percentage of their vacancies which are subject to nomination
  • The council and the association agree any special requirements - e.g. a percentage of allocations to applicants who are homeless and in priority need
  • The council and the association agree about ways to resolve disputes over nominations

The nomination agreement only gives the council the right to suggest names of applicants - it cannot tell the association to whom it should allocate its homes.