Holyrood committees launch joint consultation on new Housing Bill

Holyrood committees launch joint consultation on new Housing Bill

Ariane Burgess MSP

The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee and Social Justice and Social Security Committee have today jointly launched a new public consultation on the Scottish Government’s Housing (Scotland) Bill with a focus on homelessness and tenants’ rights.

The Bill contains six main parts, addressing areas such as rent control, eviction procedures, tenant rights, and homelessness prevention.

It seeks to introduce measures to enhance tenant protections, prevent homelessness, and promote sustainable housing solutions.

Before the Bill was introduced to Parliament, the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee established a Tenants Panel and a Landlords Panel, representing renters and landlords from across Scotland, to advise the Committee on the key issues within Scotland’s private rented sector.

These panels will now provide feedback on the Bill alongside the responses to the joint public consultation to inform both Committees’ scrutiny of the proposals.

Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee convener Ariane Burgess MSP said: “The new Housing Bill offers an opportunity to enact meaningful reforms that will positively impact the lives of tenants, homeowners, and communities across Scotland.

“Even before the Bill was published, we had already been gathering views from our Tenant and Landlord Panels to learn about what both need from new legislation.

“Now we want to hear from other stakeholders with an interest in Scotland’s housing policies, to ensure that the Bill is responsive to and reflective of the significant challenges facing the sector.”

Collette Stevenson MSP, convener of the Social Justice and Social Security Committee, which holds the remit on scrutiny of the homelessness and domestic violence aspects of the Bill said: “Everyone should have a warm and safe place to live and tackling rising levels of homelessness across Scotland should be a priority for us all.

“The proposals in this Bill seek to shift the focus away from crisis intervention and towards homelessness prevention.

“It’s important that we hear from a wide range of stakeholders, including tenants, landlords, advocacy groups, local authorities, and members of the public, to understand if the proposals go far enough to prevent so many people reaching crisis point.”

Key areas for feedback include:

  • Rent control mechanisms and affordability measures.
  • Tenant rights to pet ownership and property modifications.
  • Proactive homelessness prevention strategies by local authorities.
  • Enhancements to eviction procedures and tenant protections.

The consultation is now live and will remain open until Friday 17th May 2024.

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