News In Focus
Law reforms on "right to buy" council homes moves closer
The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee has given qualified support to the Housing (Scotland) Bill in its stage 1 report.
The bill aims to tighten up housing legislation on social landlords and remove the right to buy social housing as respects new tenants, as well as amending the law on registering private landlords, licensing houses of multiple occupation and disrepair in private housing.
While the committee agrees with the general principles of the bill, including the establishment of the proposed Scottish Housing Regulator and the Scottish Social Housing Charter, it did highlight areas of concern regarding the complexity of private and social housing legislation and the provisions in the bill actually tackling the problem of “rogue landlords”.
It also points out the risk of confusion in future as to who will have a right to buy, and says it will be particularly important to communicate clearly with tenants in this respect.
Committee convener Duncan McNeil MSP said: “Although the committee agrees with the general principles of the bill, we believe it would have been more effective if the Scottish Government had wrapped up the legislation contained in this Housing (Scotland) Bill with that planned for the private sector bill, due to be introduced later this session.
"We are unconvinced by the Government’s arguments that urgency on HMO licensing and private landlords justified two separate bills.
“We are also concerned that there’s been no additional incentive for local authorities to prosecute rogue landlords who don’t register and it doesn’t appear the bill will address this.”
Click here to read the report.