FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Housing Services
Who can apply for housing?
How do I apply?
What is housing need?
Where am I on the Housing List?
Can I swap homes?
What do I do if I am homeless or threatened with homelessness?
How can I give notice to terminate a Tenancy?
How do you support people with disabilities?

Finance
How much rent do you charge?
Will my rent change during my tenancy?
I am on a low income, can I get help from anywhere?
How can I pay my rent?
What is an affordable rent?
Where does my rent go?
What is a service charge?
Rent Arrears - What happens if I can't pay my rent?
What am I covered for on my Buildings Insurance?

Property Services
What is an Emergency Repair?
What do I do if I have an emergency repair outside working hours?

When Should I call the Emergency Repair Service Number?
Which repairs and maintenance am I responsible for?
Can I install a Satellite dish, or make other alterations to the property or garden area?
Where can I get advice on home insulation and energy saving?

General
What is a Housing Association?
What should I do if I am not happy with the service I receive from Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association?

Housing Services

Who can apply for housing?
Anyone who is aged 16 and over can apply to join the Highland Housing Register.
(back to top)

How do I apply?
Contact the office or any partner landlord of the Highland Housing Register for an application pack. Alternatively, you can request one from our website by providing your full contact details. (back to top)

What is housing need?
The current legislation, The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 gives priority to people who:-
a) are occupying houses which do not meet the tolerable standard; or
b) are occupying overcrowded houses; or
c) are living under unsatisfactory housing conditions; or
d) have large families; and
e) are homeless or threatened with homelessness.(back to top)

Where am I on the Housing List?
As our Housing Lists are constantly changing, it is not possible to tell you what position you will be in on any list. However, I can confirm that you will be considered for any suitable vacancy that arises in the lettings settlements you have requested. We will contact you in writing when we are in a position to make an offer of housing to you. (back to top)

Can I swap homes?
Yes, as a tenant of a Housing Association, you have the right to swap home with another tenant, either of the Association, another housing association, or a local authority (council). You should contact your own landlord to discuss this and make an application before moving. It can take up to 28 days before a decision is made, so do not move before you have permission from your landlord. Please also see Highland House Exchange. (back to top)

What do I do if I am homeless or threatened with homelessness?
If you are homeless or being threatened with homelessness, please contact The Highland Council on 01349 886602 for advice, information and assistance with finding alternative accommodation. (back to top)

How can I give notice to terminate a Tenancy?
You must give at least 28 days' notice in writing. The 28 days is taken from when the notice is received in this office. (back to top)

How do you support people with disabilities?
The majority of our properties are built to Housing for Varying Needs standards and we do have a few properties which have been designed especially for people with physical disabilities.
The Association does not directly provide support for these tenancies, but this provision may be available from the NHS or private care providers. (back to top)


Finance

How much rent do you charge?
Rents vary according to the property type and size. Click here to see some examples of our rents. (back to top)

Will my rent change during my tenancy?
Rent is reviewed annually and any increase implemented on 1st April every year. You will be given one month’s notice in writing about this. (back to top)

I am on a low income, can I get help from anywhere?
You may be able to claim Housing Benefit to help with the rent. You will need to complete an application form. Evidence of your identity, all income, all savings or other capital and your national insurance number must be provided. This information is also required for your partner if you have one (see how to make a claim for a list of the type of evidence that is suitable). Details of anyone else living in your household are also required.
Highland Council – Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is the name of the Government’s scheme for helping people on low incomes meet the cost of rent. The scheme is complex, but the Association’s staff will give you a form at the start of your tenancy should you wish to make a claim to the local authority. Please contact us if you would like more information. Forms and leaflets are available from the Association or the local authority. (back to top)

How can I pay my rent?
There are several ways of paying:

  • Standing Order. We will arrange for you to complete a Standing Order form which will be forwarded to your bank

  • At any Bank or Bank Van. You can pay by Bank Giro Credit over the counter. We will issue the Pay-in Book on request.

  • At the Office. You can pay by cheque/cash over the counter at the Association’s office if you are unable to pay at the Bank at any time.

  • Postal Orders/Cheques should be crossed and made payable to Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association. Please write your name and address on the back of the cheque. (back to top)


What is an Affordable Rent?
Housing Associations have strict guidelines in terms of rent levels they should be setting for a particular type of property. The Government issued guidance on how rents should be calculated linked to the size of the property, the market value and average earnings in the area. These rents are significantly lower than rents charged by letting agencies. (back to top)

Where does my rent go?
Your rent is spent on repairs, improving older properties, employing staff, paying interest on the loans taken out to build your home and a reserve fund. Details of our income and expenditure can be found in our annual accounts in the Financial Information section of our Annual Report, which is available online. Click here to go to the relevant page. (back to top)

What is a Service Charge?
Your rent is broken down into two basic components rent and service charges. The service charge element is linked to services delivered on each individual development and includes things like:

  • Cleaning of common parts

  • Lighting of common parts

  • Digital Reception Systems

  • Door Entry Systems

  • Washer Dryers

The charge may change every year depending on how much money has been spent on the development. A detailed breakdown of the service charge can be obtained by contacting the Association and providing your address. (back to top)

Rent Arrears - What happens if I can't pay my rent?
Your tenancy agreement includes an agreement to pay your rent every month, in advance. We need the rent from you and all residents on time, so that we can provide the best services possible.

If you are having problems paying your rent, contact our office immediately. Don’t put this off. It is very important that you discuss this with us before the arrears get too large. If you contact us, we will always help you and look for some mutually acceptable arrangement to clear any debt - for example in instalments. We want to help you resolve any problems with your rent as quickly as possible, so that they don’t get any worse.

Please bear in mind that if you persistently fail to pay your rent on time, the Association will seek repossession of your home. If you receive any letters about arrears, contact the Association immediately. If you have any queries about your rent account, such as your current balance, please contact us on 01478 612035. (back to top)

What am I covered for on my Buildings Insurance?
The Association is responsible for insuring the structure of your home. This is paid for via your monthly rent; this does not include the contents of your home. We can provide details of external companies who offer contents insurance. If you would like details of a scheme or a copy of the Buildings Insurance Policy, please contact the Housing Services Team on 01478 612035. (back to top)

Property Services

What is an Emergency Repair?
Any repair which is an immediate danger to the occupants or which poses a threat to the structure or security of the building would constitute an emergency repair, for example, fire or flood. (back to top)

What do I do if I have an Emergency Repair outside working hours?

We have an out of hours emergency repairs service. (back to top)

When should I call the Emergency Repair Service number?
Outwith normal office hours, at the weekend or during a holiday period (back to top)

Which Repairs and Maintenance am I responsible for?
Some repairs are the responsibility of the tenant and some are the responsibility of the Association. Details are included within the Tenants' Handbook.

Your rent includes a contribution towards the cost of repairs and maintenance and the Association will ensure that your house is wind and watertight at all times and that all sanitation and heating systems are in good working order. Tap washers, chains for wash hand basins and baths and accidental damage are the tenant’s responsibility.

The tenant is responsible for reporting all repairs to the Association as soon as they are noticed.

The tenant is responsible for all internal decoration and maintaining the interior and exterior areas of the property in a clean and tidy condition. People living in Housing Association properties are responsible for the maintenance of their own gardens. The Association can provide contact details for approved contractors on request.

If in doubt, contact us on 01478 612035. (back to top)

Can I install a Satellite Dish or make other alterations to the property or garden area?
The Association has standard conditions for such work, and tenants must apply in writing to carry out any additions or alterations to their property. When tenants agree to these conditions, they sign and return the forms to the Association, and permission to proceed will not be unreasonably withheld. Please telephone us on 01478 612035 to request a copy of the current conditions. (back to top)

Where can I get advice on Home Insulation and Energy Saving?
Please click here for more information on energy saving. (back to top)

General

What is a Housing Association?
A Housing Association is a not-for-profit organisation whose main business is providing affordable homes to rent. Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association recycles any surpluses that are made directly into the organisation to improve our homes, to the other services we provide or to acquire new homes. (back to top)

What should I do if I am not happy with the service I receive from Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association?
Please tell us! We take the opinions of our customers very seriously, and we will always try to resolve any problems you have. We have a Complaints Policy and Procedure to ensure that we deal with all complaints fairly. (back to top)

The Association is registered with The Scottish Housing Regulator as a Registered Social Landlord (No. 324) and with the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 2132RS).
The Association is a Scottish Charity No.SC038019