End right to buy, says committee
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Regulation
Housing association’s Homebuy scheme extended
The right to buy should be completely abolished in Scotland, according to a report from the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee.
The conclusion is part of the committee’s stage 1 report on the Housing (Scotland) Bill that ends the right to buy social housing.
Committee convener Maureen Watt MSP said: “The majority of the committee agrees that social housing should no longer be available for tenants to buy. We heard, and agreed with, strong evidence that the policy has had its day and that ending the right to buy will help stop affordable rented housing being lost from the social housing sector.
“Having taken that decision, we think the proposed three-year timescale to abolish right to buy is too long. We feel a notice period of one year is adequate to allow people who have a right to buy to decide if this is the right option for them.”
As well as proposing the abolition of right to buy, the Bill makes a variety of changes relating to the social and private sector housing sectors which the committee supports.
These include improvements to the allocations process and to the tools available to help landlords deal with anti-social behaviour in the social sector; the introduction of a registration scheme for letting agents; the transfer of civil cases relating to the private rented sector from the sheriff court to the First-tier Tribunal; and a new licensing scheme for the owners of mobile homes sites with permanent residents.
The committee is also recommending that all private rented accommodation has:
- Mandatory five-year checks carried out on the electrics in a property by a registered electrician.
- Mandatory provision of mains smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
- The Bill also seeks to amend the Tenements Act, allowing local authorities to support owners in tenement properties to progress repairs and maintenance in cases where the majority of owners support the work but a minority of owners are unwilling or unable to pay their share.
Additionally, the Bill gives local authorities powers to report poor standards in rented properties to the private rented housing panel rather than leaving this to tenants to report.
Maureen Watt added: “There is much in this Bill that the committee supports and believes will help those who rent across the different sectors. However, we have also put forward recommendations to parliament to further improve the bill, should Parliament agree with us that it should continue to progress. For example, our recommendations on mandatory mains smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms we believe, would greatly improve safety for all tenants in private rented housing.”