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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Call to end right-to-buy sooner

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​Ending right-to-buy is welcome but the deadline for tenants to buy their homes should be reduced

A housing body has called on the Scottish Government to reduce the period tenants have to apply to buy their homes before the right to buy is scrapped.

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) says the deadline should be reduced from two years to one.

The deadline has already been shortened from three years to two years by housing minister Margaret Burgess.

However campaigners say reducing the notice period to one-year could potentially save hundreds of council homes from being sold in a last minute rush to buy stock.

The call came as MSPs voted through the housing (Scotland) bill by 103 votes to 12 against, effectively ending the policy by 2016.

We feel that a two year notice period is excessive

Andy Young, policy and membership manager at SFHA said: “We feel that a two-year notice period is excessive.

“The parliament’s own Infrastructure and capital investment committee listened closely to the evidence we put forward and agreed with us that the implementation of a one-year notice period would strike a fair balance between giving tenants a reasonable opportunity to exercise their residual right to buy.”

Twenty-six councils and about 183 registered social landlords (RSLs) manage more than 600,000 properties in the social housing sector.

However, there are more than 180,000 households on local authority housing lists across Scotland and only about 54,600 social housing properties became available to let last year.

Right-to-buy has driven-up home ownership in Scotland. But it has also contributed to an acute shortage of social housing.

Meanwhile, Shelter Scotland has warned against complacency over positive homelessness figures published this week.

Statistics released by the Scottish Government show an 8% reduction in homelessness applications in 2013/14.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “The reduction in people going through the crisis of homelessness is good news and we congratulate local authorities for their continued prevention work in this area.

“However, there is no room for complacency … in Scotland we need to maintain and protect the housing safety net.

“That’s why we need a 10-year action plan and to work in partnership to build a homelessness service that has the person at its heart.”

 

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