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Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers: a quality assurance framework 2009

Published: 8 Oct 2010
Part of:
Law and order
ISBN:
978 0 7559 8143 4

Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers: a quality assurance framework 2009

199 page PDF

1.4MB

199 page PDF

1.4MB

Contents
Scottish National Standards for Information and Advice Providers: a quality assurance framework 2009
2. Housing Specific Competences

199 page PDF

1.4MB

2. Housing Specific Competences

2.1 Rent Arrears

Adviser Competence

Advises and assists people who have rent debts. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has an understanding of the main types of housing tenure and an ability to explain these ` clients
  • Understands in outline, the legal and administrative procedures for rent arrears and evictions
  • Has a basic understanding of local landlords' policies and procedures relating to rent arrears and evictions, in particular main social landlords
  • Understands the consequences of rent arrears being included in bankruptcy and the effect after discharge
  • Understands the need to respond in terms of section 11 notices under Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003
  • Knows the likely triggers for debt ( e.g. illness, relationship breakdown, unemployment), checks on these sensitively and has knowledge of agencies which may help
  • Is aware of the scope for possible defences against possession actions and existence of procedures for bringing a case back before a court ( e.g. recall of decree)
  • Has a basic knowledge of disrepair and procedures for filing counterclaims in order to refer to a specialist adviser. Has an understanding of the concept of rent lawfully due, withholding of rent and abatement procedures
  • Recognises common documents such as a valid Notice to Quit or Notice of Proceedings and is able to identify emergency situations and with help from a Type II or III adviser, can give immediate "first aid" advice about options and refers to a Type II or III adviser
  • Helps debtor to apply for deductions ("Third Party Payments") from means tested benefits
  • Can identify if the client is vulnerable and able to get Local Housing Allowance paid directly to landlord to prevent arrears

For Types II and III

As For Type I plus:

  • Has good understanding of the legal procedures for rent debt by type of residential tenancy
    ( e.g. Summary Cause Rules)
  • Has good knowledge of policies and procedures used by main local social landlords
  • Understand the consequences of rent arrears being included in bankruptcy and the effect after discharge and can liaise with landlord if seeking repayment
  • Has knowledge of historic debts and prescription and can respond to debtors
  • Has good knowledge of all relevant matters for rent arrears in private rented sector and the significance of level owed
  • Assists the client apply for Housing Benefit/Local Housing Allowance/Discretionary Housing Benefit. Assists client with "good cause" backdate
  • Understands the need to respond in terms of section 11 notices under Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003 (see also Housing Specific Competence 2.10 Homelessness in particular prevention)
  • Takes relevant action following from client's receipt of common documents such as Notice to Quit or Notice of Proceedings
  • Contacts landlord to seek emergency action or suspension of eviction (see also Housing Specific Competence 2.7, Eviction)
  • Has good knowledge of the scope for possible defences against possession actions and existence of procedures for bringing a case back before a court ( e.g. recall of decree) and is able to implement such procedures or to refer to a solicitor (or, where the option is permitted, to a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative) who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area
  • Negotiates verbally and in writing with landlord to protect clients' position and make repayment offers (and in accordance with Scottish National Competences for Money Related Advisers, 4.20, 4.21, 4.22, 4.23)
  • Identifies common legal defences or counterclaims and refers to a solicitor (or where the option is permitted, to a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative) who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area
  • Identifies possible issues for counterclaim ( e.g. disrepair, rent abatement)(see also Housing Specific Competence 2.4 Disrepair in Rented Housing) and refers to a solicitor (or where the option is permitted to a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative) who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area
  • Identifies appropriate strategies and actions to prevent homelessness and stabilise tenancies across sectors. Understands the potential of housing Support to achieve positive outcomes for clients

Note: Where possible, clients facing eviction should be referred to a solicitor (or where the option is permitted, to a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative) who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area at as early a stage as possible

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to provide advice and advocacy about rent debts. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has leaflets, reference books and/or access to electronic sources on security of tenure and Court procedures e.g Shelter Legal
  • Has information about possession procedures, preferably in a format which can be copied or given to clients
  • If agency does not provide debt advice, has contact details in order to make appropriate referrals
  • Has database or contact information and referral forms for solicitors who will take on rent arrears cases, or appropriate Type 111 services
  • Has contact details for Sheriff Officers, local registered social landlords and major local private landlords and copies of current Codes of Practice and rent arrears policies
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

2.2 Mortgages/Secured Loans

Note: The correct term in Scotland is secured loan. However the term mortgage is widely used and has entered statute via the Mortgage Rights (Scotland ) Act 2001. The terms mortgage and secured loan are used interchangeably in this section.

Adviser Competence

Advises and assists people who have mortgage/secured loan debts. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has an understanding of the different types of mortgage/secured loan and an ability to explain these to clients
  • Knows the likely triggers for debt ( e.g. illness, relationship breakdown, unemployment), checks on these sensitively and has knowledge of agencies which may help
  • Understands in outline, the procedures for mortgage/secured loan arrears and ejections
  • Has an understanding of potential assistance that the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010 can give to Home Owners and Entitled Residents in the context of actions to recovery possession, sequestration and trust deeds
  • Recognises common documents and identifies emergency situations and with help from a Type II or III adviser, can give immediate "first aid" advice about options and refers to a Type II or III adviser
  • Helps debtor to apply for deductions (Third Party Payments) from means-tested benefits
  • Basic understanding of Home Owners Support Fund (Mortgage to Rent Scheme and Mortgage to Shared Equity Scheme implemented in March 2009) In addition have basic understanding of the Homeowners Mortgage Support a UK wide scheme

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Knows in outline the procedures and Codes of Practice for mortgage/secured loan arrears and ejections
  • Knows in detail the appropriate use of Part 1 and Part 2 of the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010 in the interests of Home Owners and Entitled Residents
  • Knows in detail the eligibility criteria in terms of Home Owners Support Fund (Mortgage to Rent Scheme and Mortgage to Shared Equity Scheme implemented in March 2009). In addition have detailed understanding of the eligibility criteria Homeowners Mortgage Support a UK wide scheme
  • Contacts lenders to seek emergency action or suspension of ejection understanding summary application procedure relating to recall of decree and conditions relevant to recall
  • Understands the need to respond in terms of section 11 notices under Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003) and recognise the extension of this duty to Trustees in Bankruptcy and Trust Deeds
  • Knows in outline arrangements for regulating mortgages/secured loans. Negotiates verbally and in writing with lenders in order to protect client's position and make repayment offers
  • Identifies appropriate strategies for dealing with mortgage/secured loan possession
  • Has a good understanding of the legal aid system and financial eligibility criteria

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Has a good understanding of the consumer credit legislation and unfair contract terms defences to secured loans and small mortgages including prescription/limitations and inhibition
  • Identifies possible defences such as undue duress
  • Has a good understanding of procedures used by main lenders
  • Has detailed knowledge of the potential assistance that the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010 can give to Home Owners and Entitled Residents in the context of actions to recovery possession, sequestration and trust deeds
  • Has detailed knowledge of the procedure for a creditor to seek remedies on default, understand the potential defences in such actions
  • Has detailed knowledge of pre action requirements on creditors in terms of relevant actions
  • Has detailed knowledge of the conditions and procedure for recall of decree
  • Identifies possible legal defences and refers to a solicitor or where the option is permitted to a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative internally within their service or externally who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area (see agency competence below)
  • Approved lay representative must comply with all the requirements of the Home Owners and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010, all subsequent regulations and codes of guidance.
  • Knows in detail the eligibility criteria in terms of Home Owners Support Fund (Mortgage to Rent Scheme and Mortgage to Shared Equity Scheme implemented in March 2009) In addition have detailed understanding of the eligibility criteria Homeowners Mortgage Support a UK wide scheme. If approved under the scheme where appropriate assist with application if not approved refer to an approved provider in the context of the scheme
  • Has a good understanding of the legal aid system financial eligibility criteria

Note: Where possible, clients facing ejection should be referred to a solicitor ( or where the option is permitted to a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative) who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area at as early a stage as possible

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to provide advice and advocacy about mortgage/secured loan debts. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has information about mortgages/secured loans, preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information about possession procedures, preferably in a format which can be copied or given to clients
  • Approving Agencies authorising lay representative must comply with all the requirements of the Home Owners and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010, all subsequent regulations and codes of guidance
  • Approving Agencies must ensure that approved lay representatives are skilled and able to satisfy Sheriffs that the adviser is competent to represent the interests of the debtor or entitled person as an approved lay representative within the limitations of the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010
  • Has information about priority creditors, their Codes of Practice and their legal responsibilities and a system for updating these
  • Has contact details for Sheriff Officers, common lenders and copies of current Codes of Practice
  • Agency has good professional relationship with the Sherriff Clerks office/offices
  • Agency has access to all the relevant and up to date rules of the Court
  • Has list of specialist legal advisers, knowledge of the legal aid system financial eligibility criteria
  • Has good links with local money advice and welfare rights service providers
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

2.3 Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit

Adviser Competence

Advises and advocates effectively about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has a basic understanding of means-tested benefits and the relationship with Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and is able to explain these to clients
  • Has basic understanding of eligibility rules for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and how to make a claim
  • Has a basic understanding of rules relating to backdating, 'good cause' and overpayments
  • Has basic understanding of entitlement for non UK nationals including EU nationals
  • Has an understanding of what eligible housing costs are, the relationship to different types of tenure/tenancy, non-dependant deductions and the ability to explain them to clients
  • Has an understanding the Local Housing Allowance and the local rent levels
  • Can identify if a client is vulnerable and able to get Local Housing Allowance paid direct to landlord to prevent arrears
  • Has a basic knowledge of Discretionary Housing Payments system
  • Has a basic knowledge of the disputes and appeals system and appeals system, including timescales relating to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit
  • Has a basic knowledge of local authority duties, policies and appeal/decision making procedures
  • Knows how to calculate Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit using a paper calculation sheet or computer software and can explain benefit entitlement to clients and keep a copy on file

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Is able to negotiate with relevant benefit officers to try to secure prompt and accurate payments of benefits due
  • Has detailed knowledge of eligibility rules for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and how to make a claim, this includes information requirements and timescales to submit
  • Has detailed knowledge of rules relating to backdating, 'good cause', maximum limits for backdating. Understands detailed rules on overpayments including recoverability and official error
  • Is able to outline eligibility rules for Local Housing Allowance and calculate entitlement
  • Has a knowledge of other benefits and passporting implications
  • Has a knowledge of Scottish Public Services Ombudsman service and procedures
  • Has the skills and knowledge to access information on this topic ( e.g. DWP Housing Benefit Manual) and is able to respond to clients
  • Has a detailed knowledge and understanding of local rent levels and who is eligible for local housing allowance
  • Can identify vulnerability for Local Housing Allowance to be paid to landlord and can assist with form completion
  • Understands key legal concepts, researches relevant legislation and case law on the above, applies an interpretation which assists clients and advises on options
  • Has a detailed knowledge of the disputes and appeals system including timescales
  • Drafts letters to relevant agencies which put across the above points succinctly and persuasively
  • Has good understanding of exclusion to entitlement due to immigration status, rules applying to EU A8 and A2 nationals. Has a good understanding of habitual residence test and its impact on entitlement
  • Is familiar with relevant legislation and case law

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Has a good knowledge of local authority reconsideration appeals and complaints procedures including complaints to the Ombudsman
  • Drafts submissions to Tribunals which contain both a statement/summary of key evidence and legal submissions citing legislation and case law which supports clients' cases
  • Undertakes representation before Tribunals (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Has a working knowledge of legislation and case law
  • Knows the key links with other areas of law

Agency Competence

For Types l, ll and lll

Enables advisers to advise and advocate effectively about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. This includes evidence of the following:

  • Has leaflets, reference books and/or access to electronic sources on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit such as Shelter Legal and associated books
  • Has database or contact information and referral forms for type III agencies
  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning and regular updates on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating as and when regulations change which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

2.4 Disrepair in Rented Housing

Adviser Competence

Advises and advocates competently about disrepair issues affecting tenants. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has an understanding of how disrepair contributes towards homelessness
  • Has an understanding of different types of tenancy agreements and arrangements and the likely consequences of any tenant action for each type of tenancy and has the ability to explain these clearly
  • Has an understanding of different types of disrepair and basic common and contractual law obligations of landlords, knows that legal remedies may be available and has the ability to explain these clearly
  • Has an understanding of role of local authority environmental health departments and has the ability to explain these clearly
  • Has an understanding of minor disrepair and the Right to Repair scheme, as appropriate to the particular tenancy types
  • Has an understanding of the Repairing Standard, as appropriate to tenancy type, and the role of the Private Rented Housing Panel
  • Has an understanding of role of Right to Repair Scheme and Regulations, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, tenants associations, environmental health departments and local councillors, as appropriate to the particular tenancy types, and is able to explain these clearly
  • Has an understanding of options for client to take legal action on disrepair, is able to explain these clearly and also explain how to get access to legal services
  • Has had basic initial training covering tenancy types, security of tenure and disrepair options and has regular updating or access to an information service which provides updating when major legislative change occurs
  • Has a basic understanding of gas safety regulations and role of Health & Safety Executive
  • Has basic understanding in terms of common repair obligations in terms of mixed tenure accommodation
  • Has an understanding of rent abatement and can refer to type 111 agency for assistance

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Is able to identify where disrepair may result in or have resulted in homelessness, and to identify strategies in order to prevent or to remedy that homelessness
  • Knows when it is appropriate to refer the client to a solicitor (or where the option is permitted to a suitable qualified and experienced lay representative)
  • Has an understanding of the initial steps that can be taken in order to secure evidence to support possible future claims for compensation (or counterclaims) ( e.g. by ensuring that photographs are taken of the disrepair or damaged items that have to be thrown away)
  • Has an understanding of rent abatement procedures and can refer to Type III agency for assistance
  • Is able to identify when a client can take action in terms of the Repairing Standard, and the Private Rented Housing Panel
  • Has a good understanding of the procedure to take a case to Private Rented Housing Committee and understand the potential role of mediation in the process
  • Can act on behalf of and assist with liaising with the Repair Scheme & Regulations, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, tenants associations, environmental health departments and local councillors, as appropriate to the particular tenancy types
  • Understands and is able to explain the different types of tenancy agreement, their implications for security of tenure and the options available for action on disrepair
  • Can identify main common types of disrepair and their causes, identify any damage to possessions or health and write a report on them outlining options for action under relevant legislation ( e.g. Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, the Regulations on Houses in Multiple Occupation)
  • Negotiates further action with tenant, ensuring that s/he is aware of the likely housing and financial implications
  • Negotiates with landlord, environmental health department, other council departments and lawyers as necessary (including, where appropriate, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman) to ensure that tenants' aspirations are put to them clearly and in the context of legal entitlements
  • Has an understanding of the Environment Protection Act 1990 and matters relating to statutory nuisance
  • Has had initial training on security of tenure in the private sector, security of tenure in the social rented sector and disrepair. Also has training to update on security and disrepair or access to an information service that covers legal developments and which provides updating when major legislative change occurs
  • Has a good understanding of gas safety regulations and role of Health & Safety Executive
  • Has good understanding in terms of common repair obligations in mixed tenure accommodation

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Understands the potential role of other tenants and tenants' organisations in taking action
  • Is able to contact them, advise and negotiate plans of action and liaise on client's behalf with an third party or agency and can assist in seeking compensation
  • Where appropriate, and within the remit of the agency, is able to support the development of tenants' associations
  • Has an understanding of the potential role of other occupants/ household members in taking action
  • Has a detailed understanding of procedure in terms of withholding rent and seeking rent abatement in appropriate circumstances and can assist client
  • Has an good understanding of the Environment Protection Act 1990 and matters relating to statutory nuisance and can take appropriate action for client
  • Understands the roles and obligations of landlords and environmental health departments and the Health & Safety Executive
  • Is able to negotiate alternatives to enforcement action with relevant people
  • Has a good knowledge of Court procedures and practice is maintained by training and annual updating

Note: This is a complex area and advocacy will, in most cases, be best done by solicitors skilled and knowledgeable in the area of law. The competences presume the involvement of a skilled and knowledgeable solicitor (or where the option is permitted, a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative) available to give advice on the relevant area of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate effectively about disrepair in rented housing. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Type I

  • Reference sources on tenancy types (such as CAS information system, Shelter Information System, Scottish Government booklets), where possible in a format that can be given to clients
  • Reference source on repairing obligations (such as CAS information system, Shelter Information System, Scottish Government booklets), where possible in a format that can be given to clients
  • Information about the Right to Repair scheme that can be given to clients
  • Information about access to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, local councillors, tenants' associations and environmental health departments and leaflets to give to clients about the services
  • Reference guides to action on private rented sector and social rented sector disrepair (such as CAS information system, Shelter Information System, Scottish Government booklets) and a list of local solicitors and other legal advice agencies able to take action, where possible in a format that can be given to clients
  • Information about access to relevant environmental health departments and leaflets to give to clients about the service
  • Information on gas safety regulations and Health & Safety Executive
  • Information service that covers disrepair and tenure issues and mechanisms to ensure advisers are updated on major legislative changes
  • Resources to support basic training on disrepair and tenure issues and mechanisms to update advisers on major legislative changes

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Access to a standard text on security of tenure and disrepair in Scotland
  • Provides resources to support home visits where necessary (mobile phone, staff cover system to ensure staff safety) and an adequate budget for transport where relevant
  • Information about Legal Aid, sources of free legal help and solicitors (or, where the option is permitted, suitably qualified and experienced lay representatives) experienced in this area and prepared to take cases on Legal Aid on "no win no fee" basis
  • Photographic equipment so as to be able to collect immediate evidence of disrepair
  • Provides adequate access to the necessary infrastructure (word processing, telephone, message taking, etc)
  • Information service that covers disrepair and tenure issues ( e.g.SCOLAG and Butterworth's updating service Green's Housing Law Reports) and a system for ensuring advisers are kept informed
  • Resources to support adviser training on these areas with annual updates for advisers and also updating on major legislative changes

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Resources to find others affected by disrepair in the same building/area (via casework records, visits, letters)
  • Staff time for court appearances and preparation
  • Information available on roles and obligations of landlords and environmental health departments, preferably in a form that can be copied/passed to clients and landlords
  • Provides resources for training and annual updating

2.5 Housing Options

Adviser Competence

Advises competently about different housing options for clients. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Is able to conduct a basic diagnostic interview to identify aspirations and other potential housing issues such as disrepair, homelessness, harassment and housing debt (also see Generic Competence 1.1, Effective Interviewing)
  • Has a basic understanding of benefits, rents and mortgages and is able to explain these to clients
  • Has an understanding, within the remit of the service and needs of the clients, of tenure types (including, for example, those used in local authorities, registered social landlords and the private sector), and ability to explain them
  • Has knowledge, within the remit of the service and needs of clients, of the applications and allocations/transfers policies and practices of local housing authorities and local registered social landlords
  • Has an understanding of local housing mobility schemes and can explain these to clients
  • Has a knowledge, within the remit of the service and the needs of the clients, about entitlement to Rural Home Ownership Grants
  • Has a knowledge, within the remit of the service and the needs of the clients, about eligibility for schemes such as LIFT and explain different types of low cost of home ownership schemes including shared ownership
  • Has a knowledge, within the remit of the service and needs of clients, of local rent and housing benefits levels and can explain the significance of these to clients
  • Has a knowledge, within the remit of the service and needs of clients, about local rent deposit and/or guarantee schemes
  • Is able, within the remit of the service and needs of clients, to explain different types of mortgages
  • Is able, within the remit of the service and needs of the clients, to explain process of home purchase, the respective roles of solicitors, conveyancers, surveyors, lenders and the general financial implications of purchase
  • Has knowledge of Home Owner's Support fund which includes the Mortgage to Rent and , Shared Equity Schemes. In addition has knowledge of the UK wide Home Owners Mortgage Support () ) and can refer to agency who can assist with application and/or support
  • Has understanding of exclusion to social housing and rights under homeless provision due to immigration status, rules applying to EU A8 and A2 nationals. Has a good understanding of habitual residence test and the impact this has on eligibility. Has knowledge on relationship breakdown relating to occupancy, for example Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981 and Civil Partnership Act 2004

Note: Only a qualified financial adviser can advise on mortgages/lending options. Debt and benefits advice is covered by the Money and Welfare Benefits Related Advice Competences

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Is able, within the remit of the service and needs of clients, to advise clients on consequences of acceptance, refusal and withdrawal of offers. Is able to give information on likely effects on benefits, further housing options and other rights
  • Is able to explain the difference between number of offers of re-housing via homeless and waiting list applications and associated rights
  • Is able to explain high and low demand areas and how to maximise their waiting list application. Can explain how allocations are made and how points are awarded
  • Is able, within the remit of the service and needs of clients, to draw up and present appeals on offers and has adequate knowledge of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman service and procedures
  • Is able to assist clients in making new benefit claims or informing about changes in circumstances
  • Has a good understanding of the Local Housing Allowance levels for their local are for private sector tenancies
  • Is able, within the remit of the service and needs of clients, to advise about the implications of different types of tenancy agreement for security, repairs and other relevant issues
  • Where appropriate, refers to rent deposit/guarantee schemes
  • Is able to write referral or nomination report, liaising with other agencies as necessary, in order to maximise client's chances of acceptance
  • Is able to write reports in support of application for transfer where appropriate and to assist tenant in appealing or challenging any decision
  • Is able to explain tenure and related rights and implications of any move or exchange
  • Has had training in report writing
  • Has a good understanding of exclusion to social housing and rights under homeless provision due to immigration status, rules applying to EU A8 and A2 nationals. Has a good understanding of habitual residence test and the impact this has on eligibility
  • Has knowledge of Home Owner's Support Fund which includes the Mortgage to Rent and, Shared Equity Schemes. In addition has knowledge of the UK wide Home Owners Mortgage Support () ) and can refer to agency who can assist with application and/or support
  • Is able to advise on relationship breakdown relating to occupancy, for example Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981 and Civil Partnership Act 2004

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Within the remit of the advice agency and subject to clients' wishes and needs is able to befriend and support clients new to tenancy arrangements (resettlement work) and has availability over first three months of tenancy
  • Is able to mediate with local authorities, the Department for Works and Pensions and other relevant agencies to ensure tenancy arrangements are satisfactory for clients

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise competently on housing options. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types, I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Type I

  • Has sufficient resources to support interviewing (including possible checklists) and information about other agencies which can deal with problems and issues identified
  • Has written information to give to clients about benefits, rents and mortgages
  • Has basic information about different types of tenure, preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information, appropriate to the remit of the service and needs of clients, about local housing authorities' and registered social landlords' housing application procedures and allocations/transfers policies, preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information about local mobility schemes preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information, appropriate to the remit of the service and needs of clients, about local maximum eligible rent levels for housing benefit and ways to challenge these preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information, appropriate to the remit of the service and needs of clients, about local rent deposit and/or guarantee schemes preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information, appropriate to the remit of the service and needs of the clients, about different types of mortgages, preferably in formats that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information, appropriate to the remit of the service and needs of clients, about low cost home ownership schemes in formats that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information, appropriate to the remit of the service and needs of clients, about relevant grant schemes e.g. crofters, home improvement, energy, etc
  • Has information, appropriate to the remit of the service and needs of clients, about roles of solicitors, conveyancers, surveyors and lenders, and, where appropriate, lists of local practitioners and information about the relevant professional bodies, all in formats that can be copied or given to clients

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has information, appropriate to the remit of the service and needs of clients, about offers policies of local housing authorities' homelessness procedures, and local housing authorities' and registered social landlords' allocations procedures and policies in relevant areas
  • Has sufficient resources, appropriate to the remit of the service and needs of clients, to support appeals activity, including possible out of hours work presenting cases to committees etc and has information about the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman service
  • Has access, within the remit of the service and needs of clients, to information about benefits, local offices and procedures and access to copies of relevant forms
  • Has access, within the remit of the service and needs of clients, to an up to date reference resources covering private rented sector security, disrepair and other relevant issues
  • Has agreed referral arrangements, appropriate to the remit of the service and needs of clients, with rent deposit/guarantee schemes
  • Is able, within the remit of the service and needs of clients, to secure nomination or referral rights from local registered social landlords or liaise effectively with other referral agencies

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Within the remit of the service, has adequate resources to support resettlement work
  • Has adequate resources to support mediation and information about roles and responsibilities of agencies concerned in formats that can be copied to them and to clients

2.6 Discrimination in Housing

Adviser Competence

To advise competently about discrimination in housing matters and possible remedies. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has an understanding of the scope of current domestic and European Union legislation on discrimination; has the ability to identify discrimination ( e.g. on grounds of, amongst others, age, disability, faith, gender, gender reassignment, pregnancy, race, sexuality)
  • Has an understanding of the implications of various types of discrimination and also of the concepts of direct and indirect discrimination
  • Is able to identify instances of possible discrimination and refer such instances on for advice by specialists
  • Has an understanding of the role of statutory enforcement bodies with responsibility for dealing with discrimination issues, adequate knowledge of local offices and initiatives and is able to identify and explain their functions clearly to clients
  • Has an understanding of the existence of legal remedies against discrimination and understands the importance of specialist legal advice in cases involving discrimination
  • Directs clients towards solicitors skilled and experienced in this area of law
  • Is sensitive to the equal opportunities issues raised by potential discrimination and to the way in which clients may perceive the limitations of the law in dealing with this
  • Has adequate knowledge of the policies of the local authorities and main registered social landlords in the area, in relation to discrimination
  • Has had initial training on discrimination issues and has access to information and additional training on changes in the law and practice as they occur
  • Is aware of the Equalities Act and can refer to appropriate agency for assistance

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Can identify and explain the different types of discrimination, possible remedies and options for action, and explain them to the client
  • Has a good understanding of the concept of reasonable adjustment
  • Can identify the options for action, their security, financial and other relevant implications, and to negotiate with the client to determine how best to proceed
  • Writes letters and negotiates on behalf of clients with landlords and other service providers as necessary, in order to challenge discrimination and promote the client's interests
  • Has had initial training in discrimination legislation and also has access to information service or annual updating training, as well as access to additional updating if there are major legislative changes
  • Is aware of the Equalities Act and can refer to appropriate agency for assistance

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Understands the potential role of other agencies or organisations in taking action
  • Contacts them, advises and agrees plans of action
  • Has adequate knowledge of court procedures and practices maintained by training and an annual update
  • Understands the appropriate actions to be taken to change discriminatory practices and compensate for discrimination
  • Is able to negotiate alternatives to enforcement action with relevant parties.
  • Can assist clients with issues regarding the Equalities Act

Note: This is a complex area and advocacy will, in most cases, be best done by a solicitor (or where the option is permitted by a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative) who is knowledgeable and experienced in this area of law

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate effectively about discrimination in housing. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Type I

  • Has written information about discrimination legislation, preferably in a form that can be copied or given to clients ( e.g. leaflets from statutory enforcement bodies)
  • Has access to up to date copies of all relevant codes of practice and guidance
  • Has information about the role of statutory enforcement bodies, preferably in a form that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has copies of, or access to, the policies relating to discrimination of the local authorities and main registered social landlords in the area covered by the advice service
  • Provides equal opportunities training for all staff which covers discrimination and a supervision and support structure that encourages staff to continue learning in these areas
  • Has access to an information service that provides information about any changes
  • Has the resources to support initial training for all new advisers and provides annual updating, plus additional training if major changes occur

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has access to up to date information and reference sources (and an updating service) covering security of tenure, discrimination in housing and relevant Acts
  • Has information about available resources for challenging discrimination, including representation by statutory enforcement bodies or solicitors (or, where permitted, suitably qualified and experienced lay representatives) skilled and experienced in this area
  • Has information about local community groups that may offer support to clients
  • Has the resources to support initial training for all new advisers, with annual updating and additional training if major changes occur

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Has resources to find other agencies or organisations which may take discrimination action
  • Gives staff time for Court appearances
  • Has information available on roles and obligations of landlords and other service providers in offering non-discriminatory services, preferably in a form that can be copied or passed to them
  • Has resources for initial training for all new advisers and annual updating and additional training if major changes occur

2.7 Eviction

Adviser Competence

Advises competently about evictions. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type 1

  • Has an understanding of the of different types of tenancy in Scotland (Scottish Secure , Short Scottish Secure , Assured , Short Assured, Regulated (Protected), Mobile Homes and Common Law Tenancies)
  • Is aware of the various different "grounds" for eviction actions across all tenancy types
  • Understands security of tenure and awareness of "third party" rights (for example, the rights under the Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981 and Civil Partnership Act 2004) and also understands the rights of qualifying occupiers in tenancies under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001). Has the ability to explain these to clients
  • Has adequate knowledge of possession procedures to explain to clients
  • Understands the role of continuation and sisting in possession court proceedings
  • Knows of the existence of post-possession remedies such as minute for recall of decree, reponing note, application for suspension and interdict, and an ability to refer to practitioners who are knowledgeable and experienced in such procedures
  • Knows the likely "triggers" for debt (for example, illness, relationship breakdown, unemployment), checks on these sensitively, and knows and can refer to suitable sources of money advice or other appropriate agencies
  • Knows the other "triggers" for eviction proceedings and understands the distinction between 'mandatory' and 'discretionary' grounds for possession
  • Is aware of illegal eviction and harassment and associated legislation and referral of Local Authority Enforcement Officer, Police and Solicitor (see Standard 2.9)
  • Understands the need for due process in eviction cases for most tenants and residential occupiers and can identify invalid notices
  • Is able to identify rights to prevent eviction if right to remain and not tenant e.g.succession
  • Identify if client is vulnerable and able to get Local Housing Allowance paid direct to landlord to prevent arrears
  • Has had initial training, annual updates and additional training about any major legislative change

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has an understanding of income maximisation through claiming benefit entitlements and assists clients in claiming
  • Understands debt prioritisation, ability to explain to clients and to negotiate with creditors and negotiates with landlord where feasible
  • Draws up financial statements and explanatory reports in consultation with clients, and makes suitable payment offers to priority creditors (and in accordance with Scottish National Competences for Money Related Advisers, numbers 4.20, 4.21, 4.22, 4.23)
  • Knows about disrepair and procedures for filing counterclaims to possession proceedings. Has an understanding of the importance of collecting and preserving evidence in support of such counterclaims and understands abatement of rent when appropriate
  • Understands the need for due process in eviction cases for most tenants and residential occupiers and can identify and act on invalid notice. Understands the various pre-court notices required in all types of tenancy and the effect of errors in those notices
  • Understands possible defences and remedial strategies in arrears and possession actions ( e.g. defences based on reasonableness in respect of rent arrears), explains these to clients and negotiates with the landlord where feasible
  • Understands possible defences or remedial strategies in non-arrears possessions actions ( e.g. actions based upon conduct), explains these to clients and negotiates with landlord where feasible. Is aware of Anti-Social Behaviour Legislation and can explain this to client (see
    Standard 2.8)
  • Can advise on Court costs and other charges payable and negotiate payment arrangements
  • Understands importance of admitting or not admitting to debt in terms of completing or not completing and returning summons response to Court
  • Is aware of Housing Support agencies and their role in terms of preventing eviction and prevention of homelessness and can refer when appropriate
  • Is able to identify rights to prevent eviction such as succession and to negotiate with landlord and/or formulate written appeal
  • Has had initial training on money advice and possession proceedings in rented accommodation, an annual update and additional training for any major legislative change

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Understands Court possession procedures and represents or (subject to court rules) acts as friend in Sheriff Court (see Generic Competence 1.8, Representation and Litigation)
  • Understands the role of officers of the court, for example sheriff officers
  • Has had initial training on possession procedures and Sheriff Court procedures and updating as necessary
  • Understands the need for due process in eviction cases for most tenants and residential occupiers and can identify and act on invalid notice. Understands the various pre-court notices required in all types of tenancy and the effect of errors in those notices and can advocate on client's behalf in detail
  • Negotiates with creditors to secure acceptable repayment schedules to prevent Decree being granted

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate effectively about eviction. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Type I

  • Has information about security of tenure ( e.g. Scottish Government leaflets, CAS information system and Shelter Legal), where possible in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information about possession procedures preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information about money advice and other agencies and adequate private space where clients can talk to advisers

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has up to date benefits handbooks, leaflets and access to claim forms
  • Has information about priority creditors (landlords, utilities, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Council Tax), their policies and legal responsibilities and a system for updating ( e.g. through MAS newsletters or CAS information system)
  • Has checklists or forms for financial statements and calculators or spreadsheets or suitable debt advice software
  • Has an up to date textbook on disrepair in rented accommodation and Court procedures handbook

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Provides sufficient resources to provide more intensive support where necessary
  • Provides sufficient resources to support Court appearances and possible inclusion in local Sheriff Court scheme and has up to date textbooks on Court procedures and security
  • Provides sufficient resources to support negotiation work

2.8 Anti-Social Behaviour

Adviser Competence

Advises competently about anti-social behaviour and the remedies available to deal with same. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Understands and is aware of the legal definition of anti-social behaviour contained in relevant statutes
  • Understands and is able to differentiate between persons suffering from anti-social behaviour and those alleged to be perpetrating anti-social behaviour
  • Is aware of agencies where those accused of anti-social behaviour can be referred to
  • Understands and is aware of the range of resources provided by local authorities to deal with anti-social behaviour
  • Understands and is aware of the various non-court remedies available to deal with anti-social behaviour ( e.g. housing management involvement/acceptable behaviour contract/mediation)
  • Is aware of the range of court based remedies available to deal with anti-social behaviour (anti-social behaviour orders/eviction)
  • Understands and is aware of remedies contained within the Antisocial Behaviour Etc (Scotland) Act 2004 to deal with anti-social behaviour and aware that these remedies are only available to specific authorities ( e.g. closure orders/dispersal of groups available to Police)
  • Understands the impact of anti-social behaviour order on tenure in social housing sector
  • Has had initial training, annual update and additional training about any legislative change, as required

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Is able to liaise with appropriate authorities to advise in detail of the consequences of an anti-social behaviour order served on existing public sector tenant or potential public sector tenant
  • Is able to advise in detail the consequence of an anti-social behaviour notice being served on a landlord
  • Understands and can explain legal remedies on behalf of persons suffering from the anti-social behaviour of others
  • Understands and is aware of possible defences or remedial strategies in actions raised against alleged perpetrators ( e.g. anti-social behaviour orders and eviction actions)
  • Understands the relevant Court procedures involved in actions dealing with anti-social behaviour and standard of proof
  • Can explain to client possible outcomes from Anti-Social Behaviour and give homeless advice where appropriate (see standard 2.10)

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Understands Court procedures in connection with remedies under the Antisocial Behaviour Etc (Scotland) Act 2004 including procedures relating to closure orders, dispersal of groups, anti-social behaviour orders and anti-social behaviour notice and understands standard of proof e.g civil or criminal tests
  • Understands Court procedures in connection with eviction actions relating to anti-social behaviour and represents or acts as a friend in the Sheriff Court of the person facing eviction
  • Has had initial training on possession procedures and Sheriff Court procedures and updating as necessary
  • Negotiates with landlord to secure alternative resolution to action seeking eviction for anti-social behaviour
  • Where homelessness has been caused by allegations of Anti-Social Behaviour explain and if necessary challenge intentional decision if appropriate
  • Is able to make appropriate referral to assist persons complaining about anti-social behaviour to access potential court remedies to prevent anti-social behaviour

Agency Competence

Enables advisors to advise and advocate effectively about anti-social behaviour. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Type I

  • Has information about anti-social behaviour ( e.g. copies of relevant acts and Scottish Government Guidance) where possible in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information about Court procedures and Court based remedies preferably in a format that can be copied and given to clients
  • Has information about local authority services dealing with anti-social behaviour which can be provided in a format that can be copied or given to clients

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has up to date books, or electronic information, leaflets and access to appropriate Scottish Government guidance
  • Provides resources required to support necessary training

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Provides sufficient resources to provide more intensive support when necessary
  • Provides sufficient resources to support court appearances and possible inclusion in local Sheriff Court scheme and has up-to-date textbooks or electronic equivalent on anti-social behaviour and relevant law and practice
  • Provides sufficient resources to support required training
  • Provides sufficient resources to support negotiation work

2.9 Harassment and Illegal Eviction (including Race Discrimination)

Adviser Competence

To advise competently in cases of possible or actual harassment of tenants. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Understands different types of tenancy and the likely consequences of any tenant action for each type of tenancy and can explain these clearly (see also Housing Specific Competency 2.13, Security of Tenure)
  • Understands definitions of harassment and illegal eviction and can explain these
  • Understands that harassment and illegal eviction issues may underlie or be a counter-issue in other housing legal problems ( e.g. rent arrears, housing benefit, homelessness)
  • Understands the role of officers in the local authority ( e.g., Tenancy Rights Officers, or officers exercising a relevant function in relation to, amongst other things, landlord registration) and can explain these clearly
  • Understands and can clearly explain the options for clients wishing to take legal action about harassment and illegal eviction, such as contacting the Police, Council and or solicitor
  • Understands and can clearly explain to clients how to access legal services
  • Has adequate knowledge of the statutory registration regimes for private sector landlords
  • Knows about the provisions for those who are actually homeless or threatened with homelessness
  • Is aware of the Equalities Act and can refer to appropriate agency for assistance

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Understands definitions of racially motivated crime and racial harassment, the legal provisions available and has the ability to explain them clearly to clients
  • Has had basic initial training covering tenancy types, security of tenure and harassment and illegal eviction options and also regular updating (every two years at least) or access to an information service to provide updating and additional training when major legislative change occurs
  • Understands and can explain different types of tenancy agreement and arrangements and their implications for security of tenure and the options available for action on harassment and illegal eviction, including that possible damages may be payable and interdicts sought
  • Understands and can explain the definitions of racial harassment and racially motivated crimes and the remedies available to those affected by them
  • Understands the role of the Local Authority Enforcement Officer, Police and Procurator Fiscal in relation to illegal eviction and harassment
  • Identifies where harassment and illegal eviction issues underlie other housing problems ( e.g. rent arrears, housing benefit, homelessness)
  • Is able to identify the different forms of harassment/illegal eviction, explain the appropriate legal and other action and write a report outlining options for action under relevant legislation ( e.g. Rent (Scotland) Act 1984)
  • Negotiates alternative emergency accommodation for client via local authority or elsewhere, and has sufficient knowledge of relevant homelessness legislation and provision to do this (see also Housing Specific Competence 2.10, Homelessness)
  • Negotiates further action with tenant, ensuring that s/he is aware of the likely housing and financial implications and refers on for specialist legal representation
  • Understands the importance of gathering and protecting evidence
  • Understands the statutory registration regimes for private sector landlords, the implications for landlords of failing to secure a licence and the opportunities for bad landlord practice to be brought to the attention of the licensing authority
  • Where appropriate informs landlord of legislation and negotiates with Landlord where possible to prevent harassment or illegal eviction and homelessness
  • Negotiates with landlord, local authority, Police and solicitors as necessary to ensure that tenant's aspirations are put to them clearly and in the context of legal entitlements
  • Has had initial training on security of tenure in the private sector, harassment and illegal eviction, and racial harassment. Has annual updating on security of tenure and harassment, or access to an information service that covers legal developments in this area and additional training for any major legislative change
  • Is aware of the Equalities Act and can refer to appropriate agency for assistance

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Understands the potential role of other occupants/household members in taking action on harassment/illegal eviction
  • Contacts them, advises and negotiates plans of action
  • Has sufficient knowledge of Court procedures and practices maintained by training: initial training and annual update
  • Understands the roles and obligations of landlords and tenancy relations officers
  • Negotiates alternatives to enforcement action with relevant parties
  • Can assist clients under the Equalities Act and can act on their behalf

Note: It is unlikely that mediation will be an appropriate action in cases of racial harassment

This is a complex area and advocacy will, in most cases, be best done by solicitors (or, where the option is permitted, by a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative).

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate effectively about harassment. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Type I

  • Provides reference sources on tenancy types (such as CAS information system, Shelter Information System, Scottish Government booklets), where possible in a format that can be given to clients
  • Has reference source on harassment and illegal eviction (such as CAS information system, Shelter Information System, Scottish Government booklets), where possible in a format that can be given to clients
  • Has information about how to access to Tenancy Relations Officers/Sections (or officers exercising a relevant function in relation to, among other things, landlord registration and enforcement) and leaflets to give to clients
  • Has an up to date reference guide to action on harassment and illegal eviction (such as CAS information system, Shelter Information System, Scottish Government booklets), where possible in a format that can be given to clients
  • Holds an up to date list and referral procedures for local solicitors and other legal advice agencies able to take action
  • Has information about emergency/direct access hostels and local homelessness provision
  • Has an up to date reference guide to racial harassment and options and a list of local agencies able to take action, preferably in a format that can be given to clients

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has an information service that covers harassment, illegal eviction and tenure issues, plus a mechanism to ensure advisers are updated on changes
  • Has adequate resources to support basic training on these areas and regular updating (at least every two years) or access to an information service which provides updates, plus additional training when major legislative change occurs
  • Has access to an up to date reference source on security of tenure and harassment and illegal eviction in Scotland
  • Has access to reference sources that cover racial harassment and related issues and information about local agencies working in this area
  • Provides sufficient resources to support home visits, (mobile phone, staff cover available , system to ensure staff safety), and has an adequate budget for transport where relevant
  • Provides resources to support emergency action if necessary ( e.g. staff cover) and has information about emergency provision in the area and referral agreements to direct access provision
  • Has information about Legal Aid, sources of free legal help, and solicitors (or, where the option is permitted, by suitably qualified and experienced lay representatives) experienced in this area prepared to take cases on Legal Aid and at short notice if necessary.
  • Provides the necessary infrastructure (word processing, telephone, message taking, etc)
  • Has an information service which covers harassment and tenure issues, a system for ensuring advisers are kept informed, resources to support adviser training on these areas, i.e. initial training for each adviser, an annual update and additional update for major legislative change

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Provides resources to find other people affected by harassment in the same building/area (via casework records, visits, letters)
  • Provides sufficient resources to identify community and other organisations that may offer support to victims of racial harassment and deal with its causes
  • Provides sufficient staff time for Court appearances and or support throughout the process
  • Has information available on roles obligations and responsibilities of landlords and tenancy relations officers, preferably in a form that can be copied/ passed to clients and landlords

2.10 Homelessness

Adviser Competence

Advises competently about homelessness. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Is able to identify when early intervention can prevent homelessness and can refer to an appropriate Type II or III agency quickly
  • Has a basic understanding of the meaning and significance of the legislative definitions of homelessness, priority need, intentionality and local connection and the ability to explain these to clients
  • Understands "hidden" homelessness and identifies, through interviewing, where a client may qualify as homeless although presenting in respect of another problem
  • Understands local authority policy and facilities for homeless applicants, has an awareness of where these may fall short of what is required of them and understands procedures for accessing local authority homelessness services
  • Understands the importance of independent advice and the early availability of specialist help in cases involving negative homeless decisions and has knowledge of timescales for review
  • Understands the legal duties of local authorities and registered social landlords, the sources of those duties ( e.g. legislation, regulations, Code of Guidance) and when those duties are triggered
  • Understands the options for those threatened with homelessness (see other relevant Housing Specific Competences e.g. 2.1 Rent Arrears, 2.9 Harassment and Illegal Eviction)
  • Has sufficient knowledge of voluntary sector provision for non-priority homeless people, including local registered social landlord allocation policies and services for the street homeless
  • Knows what emergency provision is available in the area including social services
  • Has a basic understanding of eligibility criteria for homelessness services ( i.e. the overall eligibility criteria that apply in order to determine whether an application may be made, as distinct from the four hurdles: homelessness; priority need; intentionality and local connection). Knows which documentation an applicant may need to prove eligibility
  • Knows sources of specialist advice and referral for those deemed not eligible, or whose eligibility may be subject to query ( e.g. Scottish Refugee Council, National Asylum Support Service)
  • Has had basic training on homelessness law and provision and has access to updating information or training

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Understands and explains relevant homelessness legislation, practice and provision
  • Identifies relevant preventative action where appropriate if client is threatened with homelessness and can either initiate such action or refer to an appropriate agency to do so
  • Refers clients to local authority homelessness services as appropriate
  • Negotiates with local authority to secure appropriate emergency, interim and long-term accommodation for the client and is aware of new Regulations for exceptions and transitional accommodation
  • Understands possible challenges to local authority decisions on homelessness cases, is aware of timescales and explains these and refers appropriately if client wishes to challenge
  • Understands and explains allocations policies to clients, in order to assist them in obtaining accommodation and is able to explain process, aspirations, availability, timescales and differences between homelessness and waiting list applications
  • Knows how to refer or nominate clients to alternative schemes or provision not forming part of the homelessness legislation ( e.g. rent guarantee schemes)
  • Negotiate with landlords, benefits officers and others as relevant to secure accommodation and rent payments
  • Understands relevant community care and child protection legislation ( e.g. the Children (Scotland) Act 1995), explains this to clients and negotiates provision with relevant departments
  • Has had training on basic and advanced homelessness law and access to updating information service or training
  • Has had training on means tested benefits/housing benefit, social services provision and allocations and updating
  • Has a good understanding of rights under homeless provision due to immigration status, rules applying to EU nationals. Has a good understanding of habitual residence test and the impact this has on eligibility
  • Has a good understanding of the agenda for change in terms of homelessness rights and provisions for example the phasing out of priority need

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Understands the likely effects of homelessness on all aspects of clients' lives, and is able to offer referral to agencies who may provide appropriate support
  • Is aware of local agencies able to support clients, advise and negotiate plans of action
  • Knows local authority review and complaints process for homeless applicants
  • Drafts and presents reviews. Knows Court procedures and practices and this is maintained by training and updating
  • Knows options for judicial review and refers appropriately when necessary
  • Is aware of legislation to prevent street homelessness such as interim orders and can where appropriate refer to a solicitor
  • Understands the roles and obligations of local authorities to homeless people
  • Mediates, where appropriate, between the clients and landlords across all sectors
  • Negotiates alternatives to enforcement action with relevant people

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate effectively about eviction. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Type I

  • Has a reference source on making an application as homeless ( e.g. local authority leaflet, Shelter Information System or CAS information system, Scottish Government Code of Guidance)
  • Has copies of local authority practice manuals on homelessness and contact details of relevant offices
  • Has reference sources on relevant areas, preferably in formats that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information about access to emergency provision including out of hours services
  • Has information about eligibility criteria ( e.g. from Scottish Government Code of Guidance), and about access to services for those not eligible ( e.g. Scottish Refugee Council)
  • Has information about allocations policies, rent deposits, benefits, other provision, preferably in formats that can be copied or given to clients
  • Provides sufficient resources to support initial training and a system for updating

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has access to up to date textbooks or electronic equivalent covering homelessness law, the Code of Guidance and an updating service on case law and the Children (Scotland) Act 1995
  • Has information about agencies in area dealing with money advice, harassment, domestic violence, etc
  • Has information about local allocations policies
  • Has developed referral or nomination rights to relevant schemes
  • Has a set of up to date benefits textbooks or electronic equivalent
  • Has access to up to date and reliable reference materials on the law on community care and information about local social services policies and provision
  • Has information about provision for homeless people in the area, including out of hours and emergency provision, and sufficient resources to deal with emergencies as necessary ( e.g. staff cover and transport)
  • Provides adequate resources to support this ( e.g. telephones, word processing, message taking)
  • Has information about agencies that can provide advocacy services for homeless applicants, solicitors (or, where the option is permitted, suitably qualified and experienced lay representatives) with experience in this area and Legal Aid eligibility and can refer to them quickly

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Provides resources to provide more intensive support to homeless clients
  • Has information about agencies dealing with health, debt, employment, education, etc in area
  • Has information on local authority review/appeals process
  • Provides sufficient staff time to draw up and present reviews/appeals (including after hours for council committees)
  • Provides sufficient staff time for appeals hearings or court appearances or both
  • Has information about agencies or solicitors (or, where the option is permitted, suitably qualified and experienced lay representatives) who can take cases such as judicial review interim orders
  • Has information available on roles and obligations of local authorities
  • Has information on roles and obligations of landlords in formats that can be copied or passed to them

2.11 Relationship Breakdown

Adviser Competence

Advises competently about relationship breakdown and housing matters. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Has a basic understanding of security of tenure for rights of spouses, registered civil partners, cohabiting partners in both same-sex and heterosexual relationships and explains this to clients
  • Has a basic understanding of the law affecting relationships: for example marriage, civil partnerships, cohabiting partners, separation, domestic abuse, divorce, dissolution of civil partnership, children's rights, and explains these to clients
  • Understands homelessness options (see also Housing Specific Competence 2.10, Homelessness)
  • Understands local authority and social landlord policies on relationship breakdown and explain these to clients
  • Understands the importance of specialist legal advice in cases involving relationship breakdown ( e.g. in relation to rights under the Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981, Civil Partnership Act 2004, Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006)
  • Has an awareness of the emergency remedies that are available under the Matrimonial Homes and Civil Partnership and related legislation and other statutory provisions concerning protection from harassment ( e.g. interim interdict, exclusion order etc)
  • Can refer clients to solicitors (or, where the option is permitted, suitably qualified and experienced lay representatives) skilled and experienced in this area of law
  • Has knowledge of local support services such as Women's Aid and can refer when appropriate
  • Where domestic abuse is linked to addiction can provide information and contact details for local support services
  • Has had initial training on relationships and legal rights, security of tenure, homelessness and annual updating

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Understands the range of medium to long-term options available to people leaving relationships, e.g. transfer of tenancy and explains this to clients
  • Is aware of local landlord policies on relationship breakdown and if appropriate rent arrears
  • Has sufficient knowledge of emergency procedures and options available to those in danger of domestic abuse or homeless as a result of relationship breakdown. This includes homelessness legislation and emergency remedies under the Matrimonial Homes Act and Civil Partnership Act and related legislation plus other statutory provisions concerning protection from harassment (for example, interdict, exclusion order). Can explain these to clients and offer referral to specialist legal advice
  • Negotiates with landlords to secure accommodation where appropriate
  • Has had initial training in family law, security of tenure, relationship breakdown and housing rights, homelessness and has an annual updating

Note: Advocacy in this area would normally be undertaken by a solicitor (or, where the option is permitted, by a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative) who is skilled and experienced in this area

Mediation in this area would normally take place within the mediation process that is now part of divorce/dissolution or separation proceedings or via relationship counselling.

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate effectively about housing and relationship breakdown. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Type I

  • Has information on security of tenure and relationship breakdown, preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information on marriage, civil partnerships, cohabiting partners, separation, domestic abuse, divorce/dissolution, children's rights, preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information on homelessness procedures, policies and provision in the area, preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information on local authority and registered social landlord policies on relationship breakdown, preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Provides sufficient resources to support initial and update training

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has access to up to date reference sources on family law and security of tenure
  • Has access to up to date reference sources on emergency procedures, especially injunctions and information about local policies and procedures on homelessness
  • Has information about lawyers in the area with experience in this type of work
  • Has information about local registered social landlord policies on relationship breakdown

For Type III

Note: Advocacy in this area would normally be undertaken by a solicitor (or, where the option is permitted, by a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative)who is skilled and experienced in this area

Mediation in this area would normally take place within the mediation process that is now part of divorce or separation proceedings or via relationship counselling

2.12 Rent: Private Sector

Adviser Competence

Advises competently about legal issues affecting rent in the private sector. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type 1

  • Has a basic understanding of security of tenure in private rented sector, and an appreciation that particular tenancy-related issues may impact upon the practical options available to tenants ( e.g. a short assured tenant may need to take into account certain practical considerations when faced with a proposed rent increase compared to, for example, an assured tenant)
  • Has a basic understanding of role, responsibilities and procedures of Rent Officer and Private Rented Housing Committee. Has an understanding of landlord registration scheme
  • Uses comparable and market rents in the area to argue for tenants' desired rent when possible in context of Local Housing Allowance
  • Is aware of the main provisions of Local Housing Allowance and rent levels (Housing Benefit) including vulnerability criteria to have it paid direct to landlord
  • Is aware of the various AT forms and when they should be used, e.g AT2 for rent increase
  • Has had initial training on security of tenure in private rented sector and annual updating
  • Is aware of Rent Relief Orders made by Private Rented Housing Committee

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Advises and supports clients in Rent Officer or Private Rented Housing Committee proceedings
  • Has a good understanding of the landlord registration scheme
  • Understands and can explain the Local Housing Allowance scheme
  • Has had training on advanced private sector security rent setting and annual updating
  • Can explain to clients significance of Rent Relief Orders made by Private Rented Housing Committee

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Represents clients in dealings with Rent Officer or Private Rented Housing Committees
  • Mediates with landlord as necessary to negotiate rent levels acceptable to clients

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate effectively about rent for private sector tenants. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Type I

  • Has information about security of tenure in the private rented sector ( e.g. Scottish Government leaflets, CAS information system) where possible in format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information about Rent Officer and Private rented Housing Committee ( e.g. Scottish Government leaflets, CAS information system) where possible in format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has access to information about comparable and market rents (or provides sufficient time to visit Rent Officer and/or local library to examine)
  • Has access to regulations, guidance and information relating to Local Housing Allowance
  • Provides sufficient resources to support training

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has access to up to date and reliable reference sources on private sector security of tenure that cover rent setting mechanisms and updating information

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Has procedure manuals for Rent Officer and Private Rented Housing Committee services and sufficient resources to support attendance
  • Has sufficient resources to support and provide information about landlords' legal responsibilities, preferably in a format that can be copied or given to landlords

2.13 Security of Tenure

Adviser Competence

Advises competently about security of tenure. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Identifies main types of tenure across all sectors and explains these to clients
  • Identifies role of notices, court procedures and implications for clients
  • Identifies other options for those threatened with homelessness or links to appropriate agency
  • To prevent homelessness
  • Has had initial training on security of tenure and annual updating

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Can identify rights where client is not the tenant and negotiate with landlord, e.g. succession
  • Understands and explains different types of tenancy agreement and arrangements and the implications for security of tenure and the options available for action
  • Understands correct use of notices and can explain them to clients
  • Understands possession proceedings and explains to clients
  • Negotiates further action with tenant (including offers of alternative accommodation), ensuring that s/he is aware of the likely housing and financial implications
  • Negotiates with landlord, council officers and lawyers as necessary to ensure that tenant's aspirations are put to them clearly and in the context of legal entitlements
  • Has had initial training on security of tenure across all sectors and annual updating

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Understands of the potential role of other occupants/household members in taking action
  • Understands role of Landlord Registration and significance of landlord's failure to register and liaises with the local authority office
  • Contacts them, advises and negotiates plans of action
  • Knows court procedures and practices maintained by training: initial training and an annual updating
  • Understands roles and obligations of landlords and local authorities
  • Negotiates alternatives in line with clients' aspirations and relevant parties

Note: This is a complex area and advocacy will, in most cases, be best done by a solicitor (or, where the option is permitted, by a suitably qualified and experienced lay representative)

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate effectively about security of tenure. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Type I

  • Has information about security of tenure, Scottish Government leaflets, CAS information system, where possible in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information about court procedures, preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information about homelessness, preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has access to a reference source and updating service on security of tenure
  • Has access to an up to date and reliable reference source on court procedures and any written information about how the court services work that can be given to clients
  • Has information about Legal Aid, sources of free legal help and solicitors (or, where the option is permitted, suitably qualified and experienced lay representatives) skilled and experienced in this area
  • Provides the necessary infrastructure ( e.g. word processing, telephone, message taking, etc)
  • Has an information service that covers tenure and a system for ensuring adviser keeps informed, resources to support required adviser training on these areas

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Provides resources to find others in the same building/area (via casework records, visits, letters)
  • Provides sufficient staff time for Court appearances
  • Provides sufficient resources to support required adviser training on these areas
  • Has information available on roles and obligations of landlords and local authorities, preferably in a form that can be copied/passed to clients and landlords

2.14 Statutory Tenancy Rights

Adviser Competence

Advises competently about tenants' rights contained within relevant statues including Rent (Scotland) Act 1984, Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Understands and is aware of the existence of the different types of statutory tenure in Scotland (Scottish Secure , Short Scottish Secure, Assured, Short Assured, and Regulated (Protected) Tenancy)
  • Understands and is aware that relevant statutes can give specific rights to certain tenants
  • Understands and is aware that these rights cannot be excluded by contract
  • Understands and is aware of the extent of these rights and in particular rights relating to rent setting, assignation of tenancy, succession to tenancy and rights to carry out improvements and alterations, standard of repair in the property
  • Understands and is aware that tenancy contracts can give additional rights to those provided by statute
  • Understands and is aware that some residential occupiers have no or limited rights in terms of these statutes ( e.g. adults who reside in another person's home and who are not in a relationship with that other) and is able to offer a referral to a specialist adviser in such cases
  • Is aware of the role of the Private Rented Housing Panel
  • Has had initial training and annual updating, plus additional training about any major legislative change

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has an understanding of the specific rights granted to tenants in terms of statute
  • Has an understanding of the differences in the rights granted in the statute to the different types of tenant
  • Understands and is aware of the potential impact of the tenancy agreement in creating tenancy rights
  • Has an understanding of the different types of tenancy and their implications with regard to rights to succession, assignation, rent setting, rights to carry out alterations and improvement and the right to have the tenancy maintained in an adequate state of repair
  • Understands and is able to explain the different types and the different rights available
  • Is able to negotiate with landlords relating to these matters
  • Is aware of the relevant legal provisions regarding court challenges where decisions on these matters are adverse to tenants
  • Understands the importance of gathering and protecting evidence with regard to these rights
  • Understands and is aware of the statutory schemes involved in rent setting in the assured tenancy sector and the existence of fair rent provisions for regulated tenants
  • Able to negotiate with landlord, local authority and lawyers as necessary to ensure that the tenant's rights are expressed clearly and in the context of the tenant's relevant legal entitlements
  • Has had initial training on the various types of tenure and various types of statutory tenants' rights and rights available to other residential occupiers. Has annual updating on them plus access to appropriate additional training in respect of any major legislative change

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Understands and is aware of the existence of Court and tribunal based remedies including summary applications to the Sheriff Court and the existence of the Private Rented Housing Committee and the Private Rented Housing Panel
  • Able to advise and negotiate plan of action
  • Has sufficient knowledge of relevant Court and tribunal procedures and practises and maintains them by initial training and annual updating
  • Understands the roles and obligations of landlords in connection with the statutory rights
  • Understands and is able to negotiate with landlords to ensure tenants' rights are maintained

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate effectively on statutory tenants' rights. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Type I

  • Provides reference sources on tenancy types (such as CAS information systems, Shelter information system, Scottish Government booklet) where possible in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has reference source on statutory tenants' rights where possible in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has an up to date reference guide to statutory tenants' rights where possible in a system that can be given to clients
  • Holds an up to date list of local solicitors and other legal advice agencies able to assist in taking action to enforce tenants' rights

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has access to an up to date reference source on relevant tenures in Scotland
  • Able to provide sufficient resources to support, if necessary, home visits to tenants and an adequate budget for transport as required
  • Provides resources to support emergency action if necessary and has information about emergency provision in the area and referral agreements to appropriate agency
  • Has information about Legal Aid, sources that are free with your help, and solicitors experienced in this area prepared to take on Legal Aid cases at short notice if necessary
  • Provides the necessary infrastructure for supporting tenant
  • Has an information system which ensures advisers are kept informed
  • Provides resources to support adviser training and additional updates in respect of any major legislative change

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Provides sufficient staff time to enable Court appearances
  • Provides sufficient resources to enable staff training
  • Has sufficient information available on the rules and obligations of landlords in respect of these matters, preferably in a form that can be copied or given to clients

2.15 Housing Repair Improvement and Adaptations

Adviser Competence

Advises and advocates competently about grants and other means available to owners and tenants for housing improvements, adaptations and dealing with disrepair. This includes evidence of the following:

For Type I

  • Knowledge of improvement, adaptation and repair grant entitlements, procedures and policies and ability to explain to clients
  • Knowledge of local renewal areas, any special schemes and specialist (eg Care and Repair)
  • Ability to identify cases involving energy awareness issues e.g. heating and insulation and to make appropriate referrals
  • Has had training on available funding sources plus updating as necessary

For Type II

As For Type I plus:

  • Has an understanding of security of tenure and disrepair legislation in relation to responsibility for repairs
  • Is able to assist users with forms for means test, calculate eligibility and make applications for grants
  • Is able to advise users on alternative means to secure repairs, improvement or adaptations
    (eg Community Care, benefits, commercial loans)
  • Has had training on available funding sources plus updating as necessary

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Is able to advise users throughout repairs process, including dealing with builders and other professionals
  • Ability to make further representations on behalf of clients against refusals of improvement, adaptation and repair grants
  • Assist client to source and access alternative means to secure repairs, improvement or adaptations
  • Ability to mediate with builders and other professionals in support of clients' interests throughout the contract period

Agency Competence

Enables advisers to advise and advocate competently about grants available to owners and tenants for housing improvements and dealing with disrepair. This includes evidence of the following:

For Types I, II and III

  • Promotes an organisational culture which supports continuous learning on this topic and its importance as an aid to effective advice and advocacy
  • Provides or facilitates supervision, training and updating on this topic which is appropriate to the Type of advice being given

For Type I

  • Has information about improvement and repair grants, preferably in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information about local renewal areas, special schemes and specialist agencies, Care and Repair leaflets, where possible in a format that can be copied or given to clients
  • Has information about local agencies and other initiatives dealing with heating and insulation issues, including the Central Heating Programme, Warm Deal and Energy Efficiency Advice Centres, where possible in a format that can be copied or given to clients, and knowledge of referral arrangements covering such agencies and initiatives

For Type II

As For Type I and II plus:

  • Has access to a standard text on security of tenure and disrepair in Scotland
  • Holds relevant forms, calculation sheets, calculators, procedure manuals for local authority grants departments
  • Has textbook on community care and benefits handbooks
  • Provides necessary infrastructure for supporting clients

For Type III

As for Types I and II plus:

  • Provides resources to support greater involvement and copies of relevant Code of Practice and information about professional bodies
  • Provides resources to support representations on behalf of clients against refusals of improvement, adaptations and repair grants, including up to date and adequate reference material covering the law on improvement etc grants, copies of local authority appeals and complaints procedures
  • Provides resources to support mediation

Contact

Email: ceu@gov.scot Phone: 0300 244 4000 Post: Central Enquiry Unit
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG