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Scottish Housing Law - More Changes Ahead

Scottish Housing Law - More Changes Ahead

After a lengthy period of consultation, the Housing Minister used her speech at an SFHA conference to announce that they had now concluded the consultation and announced the following changes will be included in a forthcoming Bill.

Changes that will:

  • Replace prescriptive and outdated priority groups with a broader framework that gives landlords and their communities more local flexibility
  • Allow landlords to consider any property that a social housing applicant already owns when allocating housing
  • Introduce a qualifying period before succession to a tenancy following the death of a tenant
  • Allow a minimum period to be put in place before antisocial tenants are eligible for the allocation of social housing
  • Introduce a new right for tenants to appeal a landlord?s decision to suspend them from being allocated a property
  • Allow 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

The last of those proposals may have some interesting human rights hurdles to overcome given recent court decisions!

She also issued a letter to all interested parties detailing the plans and additional proposals.

That letter also indicated that certain proposed changes would not proceed. The main proposal which has not found favour in the consultation is the idea of probationary or introductory tenancies.

Additional proposals have been introduced after the consultation. One significant new proposal is the planned introduction of a qualifying period before a tenant can request an assignation or a sub-let of their tenancy.

Another suggestion which is still open for debate is whether the age of applicants in allocation of certain types of housing should be considered to minimise the possibility of antisocial behaviour.

It is hoped that the proposed Housing Bill designed to introduce these changes will be presented to Parliament later this year. It is possible that the process may be delayed by other priorities in the legislative programme but it seems certain that 2014 will see yet another Housing Act in Scotland and yet more changes to law and practice

We will lead the way in keeping the sector up to date with briefing notes and training sessions. Get in touch if you'd like advice on a specific query.

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Written by : Jim Bauld

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