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The law provides tenants with certain rights and bans discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender reassignment. The law also protects homeowners in some circumstances and gives some protection to homeless people.

Tenants have some protections in law, for example against being suddenly evicted from their house. If a tenant dies, and their partner has been living with them, the partner has the right to take over the tenancy. These rules apply both to public sector tenancies (local council and housing association tenancies), which are known as “social tenancies” (Housing (Scotland) Act 2001), and to private sector tenancies (Housing (Scotland) Act 1988). The definition of partner includes same-sex cohabiting partner and civil partner.

Under the Equality Act 2010, providers of housing must not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation or gender reassignment and so must provide an equally favourable service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

In addition, the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 says that local authorities and social landlords, such as housing associations, must provide their housing services in a manner which encourages equal opportunities, including for LGBT people.

Homeowners also have some protection, and in particular have certain rights if they fall behind on mortgage payments under the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010.

Local councils have a duty to assist homeless people to find accommodation, and the law recognises that a person may become homeless because they are subject to abuse or harassment where they live, such as experiencing homophobia or transphobia. This is set out in the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987.

In addition, the law protects the partner of a tenant or homeowner from being thrown out of the home if the relationship breaks down. This is provided by both the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and the Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981 and applies to civil partners, married partners, and same-sex and mixed-sex cohabiting partners.

For more advice on housing, see the following:

For advice on discrimination issues see the Equality and Human Rights Commission.