CHARITY, Shelter Scotland, welcomed the draft Housing (Scotland) Bill launched today (Thursday) by Alex Neil but urged the Scottish Government to go further in its reforms.
The charity has argued for Right to Buy reform to be simplified. It is also arguing for better protection for social tenants from eviction and more emphasis on supporting people who have been homeless to stay in their homes.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, housing and homelessness charity, said: “Since Right to Buy was introduced 25 years ago, around half a million public sector homes have been sold, contributing to Scottish social rented housing levels being at a 50-year low.
“Today’s proposals to reform Right to Buy are an acknowledgement by Scottish Ministers that the policy is a relic of the past and has had its day.
“However, the Scottish Government can and should go further by simplifying their complicated proposals. It should scrap Right to Buy for all people transferring from one home to another or who are succeeding to a tenancy.”
He added: “Ending Right to Buy alone will not solve Scotland’s housing crisis. This Bill is an excellent opportunity to better protect struggling social tenants by giving them the same protection from eviction as home owners will soon get; and better support for people who have been homeless to stay in their new homes.
“We will be lobbying MSPs to make keeping a home just as important as finding one in the first place.”
The additional topics proposed by Shelter Scotland (3) include:
- Changes to tenancy law to make evictions from social tenancies a last resort.
- Homeless people should have a better support to accompany a right to a home.
Notes to editors:
1. Background: Shelter Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to be bolder in its reform of RTB by ending the policy for all new tenancies, which includes those resulting from transfers and successions and that those currently with the RTB should move onto the ‘modernised’ RTB with its more restricted terms and conditions. The Scottish Government has proposed ending the RTB for newly built social housing and for tenants getting a rented social home for the first time, or returning after a tenancy break. However, tenants with a current RTB would keep that right. The charity argues that its proposals – contained in its submission to the consultation on today’s Housing Bill – are much simpler and will make a bigger impact at a time when the need for affordable rented homes is so acute.
2. Information: The modernised RTB applies to tenancies which started on or after 30th September 2002 or tenants who had not already qualified for the RTB by this date. Under the modernised terms, the qualifying period for tenants is five years and the maximum discount is 35 per cent of market value or £15,000, whichever is the lower. The preserved RTB (pre-30th September 2002 tenancies) has a qualifying period of two years and entitles tenants to a maximum discount of 60 per cent of market value for houses and 70 per cent for flats.
3. To view Shelter Scotland’s submission to the Bill, visit http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/professional_resources/policy_library/policy_library_folder/draft_housing_scotland_bill_a_consultation
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