Being a Housing Association tenant

This advice is for you if you are not yet in a housing association property, but are weighing up your options. For resolving a housing association tenancy issue, see Help for Housing Association tenants.

Tenancy Types

All housing association tenants (including fully mutual co-operative housing associations), and water and sewerage authorities, are Scottish Secure tenants. There are exceptions. For example, if you are ‘tied’ to a house because of your job. Tenants whose tenancy began before 30 September 2002 will have a different type of tenancy.

Download the Scottish Secure Tenancy - a leaflet for tenants

Rent Levels

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

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.

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.


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.

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. You may want to try a price comparison website, such as  Money Supermarket, Go Compare, 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. Contact your association for details and check what may be available via Homehunt.

Mutual exchange

This scheme allows tenants to exchange with other housing association and/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

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, see Where and how to apply to Housing Associations.