How the Housing Register Works

Housing Lists

There are 3 housing lists - applicants can only be on one list.

General Needs Waiting List - application will be prioritised by total points, in line with the Allocation Policy.

  • You will be on this list if you are not a Shetland Islands Council tenant, and you have not been accepted as homeless.

Transfer List - application will be prioritised by total points, in line with the Allocation Policy.

  • You will be on this list if you are an existing Shetland Islands Council tenant.

Homeless List - application will be prioritised by the date of your homelessness presentation.

  • You will be on this list if you are accepted as unintentionally homeless, in line with legislation, having completed a homeless assessment.

As well as these categories of applicants, there are a very small number of Special Case applications.  You will only be awarded Special Case in exceptional circumstances, in line with the Allocation Policy. Special case status does not mean that you will be offered the next available property, but instead means that your application will be considered alongside those at the top of the waiting list.

Allocation Quota Groups

Each property available for relet is selected for allocation to one of the three lists above. The list selected is chosen to meet agreed quota percentages that are to be met for the year, and these quota targets are set each year. These quota targets are in place to help us meet our legal duty to rehouse homeless applicants as well as giving fair opportunity to applicants from the other two lists (general needs waiting list and transfer list).

We may decide not to allocate in line with the recommended quota group and we have guidelines and controls that set out the circumstances where this is done - this can include where a property has particular assets (ie it may have been specially adapted) or where there is little or no demand from the list that was selected for allocation.

Joint Housing Register

When applying for housing, an applicant can choose whether to be considered by Shetland Islands Council only, or by both Shetland Islands Council and Hjaltland Housing Association. To increase the chance of being housed, we recommend you choose to be on both Housing Registers.


Shetland Islands Council receive nomination rights for 50 % of Hjaltland Housing Association allocations. The Shetland Islands Council will use their Allocation Policy and list positions to nominate preferrred applicants to Hjaltland Housing Association.

Areas of Choice and Groupings

We split the social rented housing stock in Shetland across 43 areas.

We may offer you housing in any area you have selected - it is important that you consider the areas where you would be likely to accept a reasonable offer of accommodation.

Offers and Refusals

We will make a maximum of one reasonable offer of accommodation.

A reasonable offer is one that meets your households needs based on the information we hold on your application. If we offer you a property in an area that is on your application and you refuse it because of the location, this would be an unreasonable refusal. If you refuse a reasonable offer of accommodation, your application will be suspended for 6 months and no offer of accommodation will be provided to you in that time.