On the 1 August 2016 the Right to Buy, which allows tenants in social housing to buy their homes came to an end in Scotland. Tenants with a right to buy had until the 31 July 2016 to submit an application.
The Right to Buy in Scotland was established by the Tenants’ Rights Etc. (Scotland) Act 1980. Subsequent legislation by the UK Parliament and indeed the Scottish Parliament made various amendments to the terms under which tenants could exercise the Right to Buy.
Between the years 1979/1980 and 2014/2015 a total of 494,580 council and housing association homes were apparently sold under Right to Buy in Scotland-homes no longer available for social renting.
The Scottish Parliament’s Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 brought the Right to Buy to an end. Commenting on this Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland said:
“It is good news that right-to-buy has finally had its day in Scotland. It has no place in Scotland’s housing system today.”
“More than half a million social homes were sold off under right-to-buy in Scotland. For every three homes sold only one was built in replacement-so no wonder we have a housing crisis in Scotland.”
“Now that right – to- buy is consigned to history- and with a waiting list of 150,000 for a council house-what Scotland desperately needs now is a step change in the delivery of affordable housing. We need to build at least 12,000 new affordable homes a year to meaningfully tackle Scotland’s housing crisis. We also need a new national homelessness strategy to get to grips with the root causes of homelessness.”
“Only with these progressive changes will we start to address the profound damage caused to our housing system by policies like right-to-buy and the decades of underinvestment in affordable housing.”
Wales looks set to follow Scotland’s example with the Welsh Assembly expected to introduce legislation on this issue within the next 12 months.
The situation in England is however different. UK government figures show that more than 52,500 people have purchased their home through Right to Buy since the scheme was reinvigorated in 2012 which amounts to 1000 households a month.