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06/06/13 11:00

Communities to benefit from social housing reforms

Social tenants and landlords are set to benefit from a number of reforms announced today by Housing Minister Margaret Burgess at SFHA annual conference.

Social tenants and landlords are set to benefit from a number of reforms announced today by Housing Minister Margaret Burgess.

Reforms will change the way social landlords allocate and manage their housing.

These reforms will allow social landlords to address the specific needs of the local community, ensuring best use of available social housing, tackling antisocial behaviour and providing further protection for tenants.

Speaking at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations’ Annual Conference, the Housing Minister outlined the measures, which are likely to form part of a forthcoming Housing Bill.

This includes:

  • Replacing prescriptive and outdated priority groups with a broader framework that gives landlords and their communities more local flexibility
  • Allowing landlords to consider any property that a social housing applicant already owns when allocating housing
  • Introducing a qualifying period before succession to a tenancy following the death of a tenant
  • Allowing a minimum period to be put in place before antisocial tenants are eligible for the allocation of social housing
  • Introducing a new right for tenants to appeal a landlord’s decision to suspend them from being allocated a property
  • Allowing landlords to give Short Scottish Secure Tenancies to applicants and tenants with a history of antisocial behaviour
  • Simplifying eviction procedures for tenants convicted of a serious offence

During the SFHA Conference Mrs Burgess also announced that initial or probationary tenancies will not be included in the Housing Bill.

She said:

“The changes I am announcing today will ensure that we deliver first-rate homes and services to tenants, residents and homeless people – the most vulnerable in our society.

“By giving landlords greater flexibility at a local level they will be able to respond to the needs of their local community.

“In order to provide affordable warm homes for people in Scotland it is vital that we continue to find ways to increase supply and quality across all tenures.

“Despite Westminster’s cuts to our capital budget, we have taken every opportunity to increase our investment in housing. By the end of April we had allocated £200m additional funding for housing supply, bringing total investment to almost £860m in the three years to March 2015.”

Notes to editors

The consultation on Affordable Rented Housing: Creating More Flexibility for Landlords and Better Outcomes for Communities which took place in spring 2012 is one of a number of consultations which has taken place on possible changes to legislation over the last year and the Scottish Government expects to announce further policy changes shortly.

The forthcoming Housing Bill will be laid before Parliament in due course.

To keep up to date with developments on these changes visit: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/16342/management/consultation