Give us your views on Housing Bill, say MSPs

MSPs want to hear the public's views on plans to shake up housing law in Scotland and end the right to buy social housing.

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Maureen Watt, inset, wants to hear views on renting in moves to shake-up housing law
Maureen Watt, inset, wants to hear views on renting in moves to shake-up housing law

The Housing Bill proposes a range of changes affecting social and private rental tenants, tenement dwellers and letting agents, and people who live in mobile homes.

The Bill also plans to end the right to buy for tenants in council and housing-association homes.

The Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee will be taking evidence and considering the Bill in the next few months.

The committee's convener, Maureen Watt MSP, has asked the public and organisations affected to submit their opinions and some will be asked to come to a meeting in Holyrood to give greater details.

If passed the bill will mean:

l Changes to how social housing is allocated.

l A mandatory register of letting agents to improve standards.

l Enforcement powers for councils to ensure maintenance and repair work is done in tenements.

l A licensing scheme for mobile home sites with permanent residents.

Ms Watt said: "Our job as a committee is to examine the Bill and advise Parliament on whether or not it is the best way to address the Scottish Government's policy goals.

"This Bill impacts on people who rent in both the social and private housing sectors - as well as on landlords and letting agents.

"It also has proposals that will be of interest to mobile home owners - and the owners of mobile-home parks.

"We are keen to hear from all interested groups and individuals to ensure all sides of the debate are heard.

"This will help us to consider the proposals and make recommendations to Parliament."

People and organisations have until February 28 to submit their opinions to the committee.

Details are available on the committee page on the Scottish Parliament website with evidence being heard between January and March before a report is published in April. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon presented the Bill to the Scottish Parliament late last year and the plans to end right to buy were welcomed by social landlords and housing campaigners.

Although there have been restrictions on the policy the Bill will finally stop socially rented home being sold off.

It is expected 15,000 homes will be safeguarded for social letting over the course of 10 years.

Tenants who still have the right to buy their homes will have three years from when the Bill becomes law, expected to be in the autumn, until they are also barred.

Local government

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