Housing as 'home'

Good housing offers a stable foundation from which to build a home, and does so through providing shelter, security and space for family life and activities, privacy, personal identity and development. The home provides us with a sense of belonging and connection to where we live and acts as a springboard to develop other aspects of our life.

Recommendations

  1. 2

    The Scottish Government should adopt an indicative national target for new house building, initially for the period up to 2020. The figure of 23,000 new houses each year, built to last with a high standard of energy efficiency, would be an interim target until national estimates can be made from forthcoming local Housing Need and Demand Assessments.

  2. 3

    The Scottish Government should increase the level of new building funded by the Affordable Housing Investment Programme to 9,000 houses each year over the period up to 2020. The social rented new build programme should be increased to 7,000 houses each year (an increase of 3,000 over the current level) and there should be a doubling of the mid-market rental new build programme which, together with the existing level of grants for new owner occupied houses, would provide 2,000 new houses each year.

  3. 4

    The mid-market rental new build programme should be opened up to private landlords – including private estate owners in rural Scotland – providing that they agree to suitable contractual terms and conditions with the Scottish Government.

  4. 5

    The Scottish Government should establish a dedicated source of advice to assist housing associations in the complex process of finding loan finance that suits their particular circumstances.

  5. 6

    The Scottish Government should set up pilot schemes to attract institutional investors who are interested in investing in new build in the private rented sector.

  6. 7

    The Scottish Government should seek to clarify the discrepancy between the success rates reported by social landlords to the Scottish Housing Regulator in meeting the 2015 target for achieving the Scottish Housing Quality Standard as compared with the success rates recorded by the Scottish House Condition Survey.

  7. 8

    The Scottish Government, in consultation with local authorities, should review the use of the various powers provided by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 to improve the standard of private sector housing (renewal areas, works notices, and maintenance orders) - including their use for common repairs in flatted blocks - to ensure that these are fit for purpose and are being used when appropriate.

  8. 9

    New tenancy arrangements in the private rented sector should allow for longer-term tenancies. As in the social rented sector, tenants should be able to terminate their tenancy with a suitable period of notice. New arrangements should ensure that landlords are able to revoke the tenancy where there is a clear and demonstrable reason for doing so.

  9. 10

    The Scottish Government should implement measures to allow for some limited intervention in rents in the private rented sector providing that any measures strike a reasonable balance between the need to protect tenants and ensuring a reasonable return for landlords and do not deter investment.

  10. 11

    There should be a review of the full range of powers currently available for regulating the private rented sector at some stage in the next Parliament. This review should clarify the actual need for regulation in current circumstances, the effectiveness of the various existing measures and the scope for their rationalisation.


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