Right to buy scheme set to end in Scotland

Legislation to end the right to buy scheme in Scotland has been introduced in the Scottish Parliament. Picture: TSPL
Legislation to end the right to buy scheme in Scotland has been introduced in the Scottish Parliament. Picture: TSPL
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Legislation to end the right to buy has been introduced at the Scottish Parliament.

The Housing (Scotland) Bill is designed to retain social housing by preventing the sale of up to 15,500 homes over the next 10 years and to improve conditions in both social and private rented accommodation, the Scottish Government has said.

Due to previous legislation and suspensions in some areas, the right to buy is already unavailable to many people living in social housing including new tenants and those in new-build property.

Right-to-buy will come to an end three years after the Bill becomes law, which the Scottish Government hopes will happen next summer.

People wishing to own their home would be able to seek support from the Government through various shared equity schemes.

The Bill will also protect the private rented sector which has more than doubled in size, from 5% of all homes in 1999 to 11% in 2011.

This will be achieved with some legal changes which will see private-rented sector cases being moved from sheriff courts to a new First-Tier Tribunal, the introduction of regulation for letting agents and increasing the power of local authorities to report breaches of house condition standards.

There are around 3,300 households in Scotland with people who live permanently in mobile or park homes who are set to benefit from changes in mobile home site licensing, with local authorities being given a range of tools to ensure sites meet acceptable standards and to tackle unscrupulous site owners, said the Scottish Government.

The Bill would also introduce various measures designed to make the allocation and management of social housing more flexible.

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.

She added: “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 Government says it is spending £1.35 billion on “affordable” homes over a four-year period to 2015-16, with a target to build 30,000 by March 2016.


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