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22 November 2013
Housing Bill introduced to Parliament

Housing Bill introduced to Parliament

A Bill intended to improve the quality of rented accommodation will also end right to buy in Scotland, according to the Scottish Government.

Measures in the Housing (Scotland) Bill are intended to enhance housing conditions, retain much needed social housing for the people of Scotland and safeguard social and private tenants.

The Government said removing right to buy will prevent the sale of up to 15,500 social houses over the next 10 years, helping to build more cohesive and sustainable communities.

The Bill will also establish a private rented sector tribunal which will provide tenants and landlords with access to specialist justice to resolve disputes more effectively.

Changes to mobile home site licensing will also improve the rights of the 3,300 households, many of whom are elderly, living permanently in mobile or park homes across Scotland.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “Everyone deserves to live in high-quality, sustainable homes that they can afford and that meets their needs. This Bill will contribute to that vision by safeguarding consumer interests, supporting improved quality and delivering better outcomes for communities.

“We are doing everything possible to maximise our investment in housing and deliver on our target of at least 30,000 new, affordable homes over the lifetime of this Parliament.

“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.”

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has long campaigned for an end to right to buy.

Andy Young, policy and membership manager of the SFHA said: “While the SFHA broadly welcomes many aspects of the Bill, we are keen to examine the finer detail of some of the inclusions. We commend the Scottish Government for ending the right to buy in Scotland, though we are unclear as to why it has put in place a notice period of three years when 73 per cent of responses to its consultation on the matter suggested a shorter period. We will put forward a case to reduce this period.

“Any flexibility around allocations and a better use of the social housing stock is to be welcomed, while the devil will be in the detail of many of the proposals aimed at tackling antisocial behaviour. Our view is that these measures will not succeed without a multi-agency approach.”

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