9:21 AM, 26th June 2014, About 9 years ago
The final Housing Bill debate (stage 3) has concluded in the Scottish Parliament this evening and the Bill was passed approx 19.15 hrs.
Our policy team have been monitoring carefully and we are pleased to report good news for our members. Our work was praised during the debate this afternoon by parliamentarians including Housing Minister Margaret Burgess MSP and Bob Doris MSP.
We have campaigned for the introduction of the following and are delighted to report that we expect them all to be included in the final wording of the Bill:
• A clear standard for electrical safety checks to be carried out every 5 years.
• A new Housing Tribunal to avoid landlords having to go to court to regain possession of their properties.
• A letting agent registration scheme and clear code of practice to protect all consumers, whether landlords or tenants.
• Powers to modify the Repairing Standard by regulations that will be consulted upon.
The above will be introduced via further regulation and guidance which we will be pleased to work with in a positive manner alongside all stakeholders. As always, we will keep members informed of when legislation comes into force.
SAL and the CLA have also been successful in lobbying against the introduction of the following, all of which were voted OUT of the Bill earlier today:
• A minimum standard of energy efficiency that let properties would have to comply with by 1 April 2015.
• A proposed ban on agents not accepting tenants in receipt of benefits.
• Restrictions on the amount agents can charge for rent in advance.
• Changes to restrictions on the amount agents can charge in tenancy deposits.
SAL landlord and Council of Letting Agent members who have taken part in our Call to Action campaign as well as all other members will be delighted to hear that the amendments on rent control and longer tenancies were voted out.
These will not be included in the final wording of the Bill, which is expected to receive Royal Assent later this year. SAL has actively lobbied against these amendments in many face to face meetings with MSPs and we are delighted that our concerns have been taken on board.
However, the issues of longer tenancies and rent control remain on the political agenda and are included in the Government’s ongoing review of the private rented sector tenancy regime.
The Housing Minister, Margaret Burgess MSP, committed during proceedings today that any changes to legislation proposed as a result of this review will be subject to a full public consultation which is likely to take place this autumn.
SAL was a member of the working group which put forward recommendations to the Government and will play a key role in the evolution of any new legislation in the sector.