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The End of Right to Buy in Scotland

On the 31st July, the Right to Buy, which allows tenants in social housing to buy their homes, will come to an end in Scotland.

Right to Buy

The Right to Buy in Scotland was established by the Tenants’ Rights, Etc. (Scotland) Act 1980. Subsequent legislation, by the UK Parliament and – following devolution - the Scottish Parliament, made various amendments to the terms under which tenants could exercise their Right to Buy.

Between the years 1979-80 and 2014-15 a total of 494,580 council and housing association homes were apparently sold under Right to Buy in Scotland - homes no longer available to later generations who wanted to rent in the social housing sector.

Protecting Housing Stock

The Scottish Parliament’s Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 has now brought the Right to Buy to an end – a move that the Scottish Government says is necessary to protect the housing stock that is available for social renting.

“The end of Right to Buy marks a major milestone in the Scottish Government’s efforts to build a sustainable housing policy for the future,” commented Housing Minister Kevin Stewart.

“The Scottish Government is doing everything possible to maximise our investment in housing and to deliver on our ambitious target of 50,000, affordable homes over the lifetime of this Parliament, including 35,000 social homes,” he added. “But with thousands of people on waiting lists for council and housing association houses, it was only right for us to scrap this scheme as we could no longer afford to see the social sector lose out on badly needed homes.”

“Giving everyone access to a good quality affordable home is a priority for this Government and we will continue to assist people into home ownership through a range of shared equity schemes including Help to Buy (Scotland) and Open Market Shared Equity to help thousands of households own their own homes,” he said.

Right to Buy in England and Wales

Wales looks set to follow Scotland’s example in bringing Right to Buy to an end, reports the Financial Times.  The Welsh Assembly is expected to introduce legislation on this issue within the next 12 months, with first minister Carwyn Jones saying such action is necessary to protect social housing stock.

However, in England, the Right to Buy scheme is likely to be expanded to include the tenants of housing associations. 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 over 1,000 households a month.

A recent survey by the UK Government apparently found that the reinvigorated Right to Buy scheme has boosted the aspiration of social housing tenants, with those expecting to buy their current home continuing to rise from 20% in 2012 to 24% in 2014 to 2015.

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If you are looking to buy or sell property in Scotland, then contact our experienced property lawyers today for expert advice and guidance.

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