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Housing (Scotland) Bill passes final stage

26 June 2014

The bill ending the right to buy of tenants in the scial housing sector, and setting up a specialist tribunal to resolve landlord-tenant disputes in the private sector, passed its final stage in the Scottish parliament yesterday.

The Housing (Scotland) Bill will end the right to buy social housing in Scotland over the next two years, giving tenants time to consider their options and find financial advice if they want to exercise their right to buy their home. It is estimated that it will prevent the sale of up to 15,500 social houses over the next 10 year.

Conservative members objected to the move but the bill was passed by MSPs by 93 votes to 12.

Other provisions affecting the social sector give landlords more flexibility in determining priority cases, allow a minimum period to be set before antisocial tenants are eligible for social housing, introduce a new right for tenants to appeal a landlord’s decision to suspend them from being allocated a property, allow landlords to give short Scottish secure tenancies to applicants and tenants with a history of antisocial behavior, and simplify eviction procedures for tenants convicted of a serious offence.

Private rented sector cases are transferred from the sheriff courts to the new First-tier Tribunal, to be created by the recently passed Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014. The bill also introduces regulation of letting agents to promote high standards of service and professionalism.

Landlords in the private rented sector will also be required to fit carbon monoxide detectors and carry out electrical safety checks. Local authorities are given powers to inspect properties and report breaches of house condition standards to the private rented housing panel, which enforces the repairing standard in the sector.

Permanent residents on mobile home sites will also benefit from a stronger licensing regime, local authorities being given a range of tools to ensure sites meet acceptable standards and tackle unscrupulous site owners.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “Stakeholders from across the sector have given this legislation widespread support as they recognise that we have put together a package of measures which will help improve housing in the social, private rented and owner-occupied sectors."


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