AUGUST 02, 2016 | BY A & S Property
Right to Buy ‘has had its day’, says CEO of SFHA

Various housing bodies have welcomed the end of Right to Buy in Scotland, more than 35 years after it was first introduced.

MSPs voted to scrap the measure, introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1980, two years ago following concerns that it had contributed to a severe shortage of affordable homes to rent and buy north of the border.

Right to Buy schemes, which continue to operate across the rest of the UK, allow sitting tenants to buy public-sector housing, often with a discount on the market value. But there is nothing to then prevent them selling these units on at a later stage, many of which have been sold to buy-to-let landlords over the years.

Many landlords specialise in acquiring and renting out ex-local authority housing as they typically offer above average rental returns.

Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said the scrapping on the policy in Scotland “hasn't come a moment too soon”.

SFHA chief executive Mary Taylor said: “Right to Buy has had its day and has no place in modern Scotland.

“SFHA and its members long campaigned for an end to RTB, and warmly welcomes the end of a policy which has led to a considerable reduction in the availability of truly affordable social rented homes and contributed to the growing intergenerational inequality in terms of access to affordable quality housing.

“Going forward, we have a chance in Scotland to adopt a housing policy that is focused on the supply of well-designed, energy efficient social rented homes that are truly affordable to people on low incomes.”

The Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers (ALACHO) also welcomed the end of the policy.

“Ending the right to buy will allow social landlords to plan longer term, manage assets and income more effectively and most importantly to invest to increase the number of social rented homes for the first time since 1981,” said Tony Cain, the ALACHO’s policy manager.

“That means more long term jobs and apprenticeships to maintain our homes and more households taken out of housing need and living in warm, dry and genuinely affordable housing,” he added. 

The Scottish government pressed ahead with plans to scrap the policy in order to protect the housing stock that was available for social renting.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “It is absolutely vital that people can access social housing when they need it most.

“By ending the right to buy we are protecting up to 15,500 social homes from sale over the next 10 years and safeguarding this stock for future generations.”

 


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