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Right-to-buy to be scrapped one year early

This news post is about 10 years old

Right-to-buy legislation in Scotland will be abolished sooner than expected

Margaret Burgess
Margaret Burgess

After the Housing (Scotland) bill receives royal assent the notice period on the controversial policy will be cut from three years to two.

Housing minister Margaret Burgess made the announcement during stage one of the bill in parliament this week.

She said she had listened to calls from campaigners to reduce the timescale for abolishing the policy.

She said: "I have now taken on board the infrastructure and capital investment (ICI) committee’s concerns that the proposed three-year timescale to abolish right to buy is too long. Going forward we will reduce the period to two years which will give tenants time to consider their options and find financial advice if they want to exercise their right to buy their home.

I suspect that there may still be efforts from housing bodies to cut the lead-in period to the 12 months - David Bookbinder

"These measures will protect up to 15,500 social houses from sale over a 10-year period and safeguard social housing stock for future generations.

"With 185,000 people on waiting lists for council and housing association houses, we can no longer afford to see the social sector lose out on badly needed homes."

However the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) expressed its disappointment the period hadn’t been lowered to one year.

Andy Young, SFHA policy and membership manager, said one year was enough to strike a fair balance between giving tenants a reasonable opportunity to exercise their right to buy and allowing landlords and their lenders a degree of certainty about their housing stock levels.

“We were therefore disappointed that the minister did not endorse the committee’s recommendation and instead opted for a two-year notice period. This goes against what the overwhelming majority of those giving evidence to the ICI Committee had suggested.”

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said the charity welcomed the move, however it still believes there is a strong case for that period to be shortened even further.

David Bookbinder, head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, said: “Obviously this is a very welcome step in the right direction, but I suspect that there may still be efforts from housing bodies to cut the lead-in period to the 12 months recommended by the ICI committee’s stage one report.”