News In Focus
Housing (Scotland) Bill begins Holyrood journey
The Government bill to end the right to buy for social housing tenants in Scotland, and create a private rented sector tribunal, has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament.
The provisions in the Housing (Scotland) Bill are intended to enhance housing conditions, retain social housing in public ownership and safeguard social and private tenants.
It is estimated that the ending of the right to buy, introduced in 1980, will prevent the sale of up to 15,500 social houses over the next 10 years.
New rules are proposed on allocation of social housing, including provision for consultation with those on the waiting list before a landlord changes its rules for priority allocation.
Disputes between landlords and tenants in the private rented sector will go to the new tribunal, which is aimed at providing access to specialist justice to resolve disputes more effectively.
The bill will also strengthen the rights of the 3,300 households living permanently in mobile or park homes across Scotland, through changes to mobile home site licensing.
Other provisins will introduce a regulatory framework for letting agents, enhance local authority powers to improve the quality of houses in the private sector, and increase flexibility in the allocation and management of social housing, one aim being to allow landlords to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “By safeguarding social housing through removing right to buy, we will alleviate the pressure on social housing. With 400,000 people on waiting lists for council and housing association houses, we can no longer afford to see badly needed homes lost to the social sector.
“The introduction of a specialist private rented sector tribunal will provide tenants and landlords with access to specialist justice to resolve disputes more effectively.
“Housing is and will remain a priority for this Government and through the Housing Bill we will continue to support both the private and social sectors.”
Ministers hope that the bill will become law by next summer.
The Bill covers a wide range of housing issues, taking forward policy proposals that the Scottish Government has consulted on extensively ov