(Scotland) Act 2001:
new rights for homeless people and changes to housing allocations
- Reforms the
right to buy for new tenants.
a new single Scottish Secure Tenancy to replace existing tenancy
agreements for all tenants.
a single regulatory framework for local authority and registered
Scottish Homes with a new Executive Agency – called Communities
Scotland – which is directly responsible to Scottish Ministers.
- Gives local
authorities an enhanced strategic role and duties.
the Executive to publish a strategy for eradicating fuel poverty
within 15 years and report on progress every four years.
ON LOCAL AUTHORITIES
authority must have a homelessness strategy, conduct an assessment
of homelessness in the area and provide free advice and temporary
accommodation to homeless people.
authority must establish a strategy for tenant participation,
including demonstrating how they will take account of tenants'
views and the proposals on which they are likely to consult.
is being abolished and local authority housing functions and Registered
Social Landlords (RSLs) will both be regulated by Communities
Scotland, the new Executive Agency.
The new agency
will be able to carry out an inspection of local authorities'
housing functions, require them to prepare and implement remedial
plans and, if they are still not satisfied, appoint a special
manager to a local authority. Special managers cannot be appointed
Executive can issue performance standards for housing functions,
which could include the prevention of anti-social behaviour, allocations
and maintenance and repair.
keep their current RTB conditions.
For new tenants
RTB has been substantially altered:
- The maximum
discount is now 35% of the property's value or £15,000, whichever
is lower. Tenants qualify for RTB after 5 years continuous tenancy.
- Housing Associations
who were not subject to RTB prior to the Act have the new right
suspended for 10 years to give them time to adjust to the new
arrangements. This 10 year suspension can be extended for another
10 years if the Association concerns wishes.
- Special needs
housing is exempt from RTB.
- In designated
'pressured areas', where existing high demand for rented housing
would be exacerbated by RTB, RTB can be suspended for 5 years.
Only local authorities can apply to have an area designated as
a pressured area.
The duty on
local authorities and RSLs to prepare tenant participation strategies
means that tenants will henceforth have to be consulted on matters
affecting them, including
- policy in
relation to housing management
- repairs and
management of stock
The Act also
gives details of the process for tenant management co-operatives
to take over management of their landlord's houses. If the landlord
refuses to transfer housing stock or the two sides can't reach
agreement, the tenants can appeal to the Scottish Executive.
Before any stock
can be transferred (by either an RSL or a local authority) a majority
of the affected tenants must consulted, given full information on
the transfer and agree by ballot. Ministers can stop a transfer
going ahead but a transfer cannot proceed unless tenants vote in
BRANCHES CAN DO:
- UNISON needs
to be aware of the potential organising opportunities that exist
in the RSLs and local housing organisations.
- The transfer
terms for Scottish Homes staff will need careful scrutiny. Some
staff have transferred already – many others will be transferring
either to Communities Scotland or RSLs.
for local authority housing staff may be amended as a result of
the new duties imposed on local authorities by the Act. In addition,
new performance standards may entail changes in duties and priorities.
Other departments, such as finance, may also be affected.
(was Scottish Homes) http://www.communitiesscotland.gov.uk/
of Housing Associations: www.sfha.co.uk
of Housing in Scotland: www.cihscotland.org
Government Information Unit: www.slgiu.co.uk
(for information on campaign against stock transfer):
Scottish Organiser (Utilities)