SFHA welcomes call for reduction in Right to Buy notice period
Published by Anonymous for Scottish Federation Of Housing Associations in Housing and also in Communities
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment (ICI) Committee, recommending that the notice period to end the Right to Buy policy in Scotland proposed in the Housing (Scotland) Bill be reduced from three years to one year. (1)
Andy Young, SFHA Policy and Membership Manager, said:
“We are delighted that the ICI Committee has listened closely to the evidence put forward by the SFHA and agreed with our assertion that the implementation of a one year notice period, as opposed to three, strikes a fair balance between giving tenants a reasonable opportunity to exercise their residual right to buy and allowing landlords and their lenders a degree of certainty about their stock levels fairly quickly.
“Right to Buy has had its day and has no place in 21st Century Scotland. It has been beneficial to a relatively small number of individuals, but clearly a loss to the greater public good. Half a million social rented homes have been lost in the 30 years of this policy in Scotland (2), very often the better stock in the more popular areas.
“The SFHA and its members have campaigned for its abolition for years, and we thank the ICI Committee for listening closely to the arguments which we put forward and now look to the Scottish Parliament to endorse this measure when the Bill passes into Stages 2 and 3.”
The SFHA’s arguments for the abolition of the Right to Buy included:
• There is an acute shortage of affordable rented homes, with social landlords struggling to build as grants for building new affordable social housing have decreased from an average of £70,000 to an average of £40,000 per home. (3)
• Right to Buy has been detrimental to property standards. Many tenants have struggled to make the transition into ownership, and many of those who bought now cannot meet the maintenance responsibilities that go along with home ownership.
• Many ex-Right to Buy properties have been sold on and are now used either as second homes in rural areas, thus pricing local young people out of the market, or as private rented properties, attracting Housing Benefit subsidy which is in excess of the properties’ original social rents. This in turn has caused unnecessary costs to the UK public purse of up to £2 billion per year. (4)
• In some cases ex – Right to Buy properties have had to be bought back by social landlords under the Scottish Government’s own Mortgage to Rent scheme. (5)
For further information, contact Kirsten Walker on t: 0141 567 6221 m: 0788 788 8348 or e: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Stage 1 Report on the Housing (Scotland) Bill http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/29837.aspx
2. Scottish Government , Housing Statistics for Scotland. Available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Housing-Regeneration/HSfS/KeyInfo
3. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/1125/0117196.doc - Innovation and Investment Fund introduction of £ 40,000 target for RSL’s.
4. Sprigings, N. and Smith, Duncan H (2012), Unintended Consequences: Local Housing Allowance meets the Right to Buy. Available at http://extra.shu.ac.uk/ppp-online/issue_2_030812/article_1.html
5. Bramley et al Evaluation of the Mortgage to Rent Scheme in Scotland (2008). Available at http://www.sbe.hw.ac.uk/documents/Bramley_et_al_Evaluation_of_the_National_Mortgage_to_Rent_Scheme.pdf
6. The SFHA was established in 1976 and has around 122 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance. www.sfha.co.uk
7. The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing associations own and manage around 40% of the country’s affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
8. Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.