Regulator directs transfer of homes from Thistle Housing Association to Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association


25 January 2021

The Scottish Housing Regulator has directed a transfer of tenants’ homes and other assets and liabilities from Thistle Housing Association to Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association. It took this decision to safeguard the interests of tenants and other service users.  

The Regulator intervened in Thistle in August 2018 as a result of serious failures by the Association. Following the intervention further breaches of regulatory requirements were uncovered, including failures to comply with health and safety requirements relating to tenants, residents and employees.

As a result of a detailed options appraisal, Thistle decided that it would be in the best interests of its tenants and residents to transfer to another registered social landlord. It identified Sanctuary Scotland as its preferred transfer partner in early 2020. In an independent ballot of tenants 92% voted ‘yes’ to the transfer.  Following the positive ballot outcome, and to avoid further delay, Thistle asked the Regulator to direct the transfer using its power under section 67 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010.

After making inquiries and consulting with tenants and factored owners the Regulator concluded that the transfer of all of Thistle’s assets to Sanctuary Scotland will safeguard the interest of tenants and other service users.  On 19 January 2020, the Regulator decided to direct Thistle to transfer its assets and liabilities to Sanctuary Scotland by 1 March 2021.


Ian Brennan, Director of Regulation at the Regulator said:

“Tenants voted overwhelmingly in favour of the offer made by Sanctuary Scotland and our consultation has confirmed the strength and depth of the support for the transfer.”

“We have today written to Thistle’s tenants and service users to inform them of our decision. We will continue to ensure that tenants and service users are kept informed throughout the transfer and following the transfer we will engage with Sanctuary to ensure the commitments made to tenants and residents are delivered. This will include plans to address the problems caused by the mismanagement of a major works contract.”

The Regulator has published updated engagement plans for Thistle Housing Association and Sanctuary Scotland. 

Read the updated engagement plan for Thistle Housing Association 

Read the updated engagement plan for Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association 


Notes to editors

  1. The Scottish Housing Regulator was established on 1 April 2011 under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010. Its objective is to safeguard and promote the interests of tenants and others who use local authority and RSL housing services. The Regulator operates independently of Scottish Ministers and is accountable directly to the Scottish Parliament. It assumed its full regulatory responsibilities on 1 April 2012. The Regulator consists of the Chair and eight Board members. More information about the Regulator can be found on its website at
  2. SHR sets out how it regulates social landlords in its published framework – Regulation of Social Housing in Scotland.
  3. Thistle Housing Association will publish the consultation report on its website here


Tracy Davren Communications Manager