Housing Policy, Legislation & Regulation
Policy, legislation and regulation are changing fast for Scottish housing associations – and not always in a good way for GWSF members!
Because of this, GWSF has given top priority to working on national issues that directly affect our membership.
- We do not try to respond to every national policy issue. Instead, we focus on the issues that will have a real impact on community-controlled housing organisations.
- We do not try to speak for all housing associations. Our priority is to offer a clear perspective on behalf of community-controlled housing organisations.
- Where appropriate, we work with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) on the major policy issues of the day. For example, GWSF and SFHA have worked together closely during 2010, on issues such as investment reform and housing allocations.
Click on the boxes below, to find out more about our work on current issues.
National Housing Policy
Since 2007, the Scottish Government has issued two major documents about national housing policy in Scotland. These are "Firm Foundations" (2007) and "Fresh Thinking, New Ideas" (2010). The Scottish Government has said it intends to publish a national housing policy statement early in 2011, and we await this with interest.
You can find copies of Government policy documents and GWSF briefings and responses in the Resources Library, under "National Policy Issues"
The Housing (Scotland) Bill
The Housing (Scotland) Bill is expected to become law before the end of 2010.
It deals with reforms to the Right to Buy (which GWSF has broadly supported), and the creation of a new system of housing regulation for housing associations and local authorities (where we have been more critical of some aspects of the Government's proposals).
You can find out more about the Housing Bill on the "Bills" pages of the Scottish Parliament website at www.scottish.parliament.uk
GWSF has campaigned hard to improve the housing regulation parts of the Bill, and our efforts have helped bring about a number of important changes.
You can download key GWSF documents on the Housing (Scotland) Bill in the Resouces Library, under "National Policy Issues"
Regulation of Housing Associations
The Housing (Scotland) Bill will create a new system of regulation for Scottish housing associations.
This will be based on a Scottish Social Housing Charter, setting standards and outcomes for tenants and other service users. There will be a new Scottish Housing Regulator, to manage the regulation of housing associations and local authority landlords.
GWSF has been a lone voice in expressing criticism that the Housing Bill will reach the statute book before any real work has been done by the Government on the Scottish Social Housing Charter.
We have also expressed strong concerns that the powers of the new Scottish Housing Regulator are not defined clearly enough.
Once the Housing Bill becomes law, GWSF will seek to influence how the Scottish Social Housing Charter is developed, and how the new Regulator develops its role.
Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Bill
While many private landlords operate within the law and provide good services, others do not. This is bad news for tenants – and bad news for community-owned landlords managing housing in mixed tenure areas.
At the start of 2010, the Scottish Government published a consultation document on reforming the law relating to the private rented sector in Scotland.
The Scottish Government introduced its Private Rented Housing (Scotland) Bill to Parliament on 4 October 2010.
You can follow the progress of the Bill on the Scottish Parliament website, www.scottish.parliament.gov.uk, in the Current Bills page and on the page of the Local Government and Communities Committee.
You can read about GWSF's work on the Bill in the Resource Library under "National Policy Issues"