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Read our strategy and action plan for housing in the next decade.
The Housing (Scotland) Bill received Royal Assent in August 2014. The Act will end the right to buy in Scotland, give social landlords more flexibility in the allocation and management of their housing stock and introduce a first-tier tribunal to deal with disputes in the private rented sector. It will also give local authorities new discretionary powers to tackle disrepair in the private rented sector, introduce a new regulatory framework for letting agents in Scotland, modernise site licensing for mobile homes sites with permanent residents, place new requirements on private sector landlords to fit carbon monoxide detectors in properties with carbon-emitting appliances and to carry out electrical safety checks every five years.
The Act's provisions ending the right to buy come into effect on 1 August 2016. A registered social landlord must now consult its tenants before the landlord becomes a subsidiary of another body.
We offer information for house buyers and sellers through the Home Report and help homeowners at risk of losing their homes through the Home Owners' Support Fund.
We encourage a thriving private rented sector, which provides good quality and well-managed accommodation, and in which both landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities.
Increasingly limited public finances and resources have reduced what can be achieved through traditional funding approaches. We are maintaining Scotland’s leadership in financial innovation and continuing to work creatively with our partners to create and enable innovative ways to deliver more for less public investment. The contribution from innovative financing approaches, using government guarantees, loans, grant recycling and new sources of private funding is substantial and growing.
The National Housing Trust initiative – the first guarantee-based scheme for housing in the UK – changed thinking by showing how public and private sectors can, with strong leadership, support, incentives and collaboration, achieve transformative results.
We also broke new ground as the first national government in the UK, and first public sector body in Scotland, to invest in an ethical financial instrument called Charitable Bonds. The Scottish Government agrees to forego most of the interest due on its investment, which immediately frees a proportion of the investment for donation to charity. SG loan investment of £37 million by 2016 will generate charitable donations of up to £10 million, supporting housing associations in providing up to 600 new affordable homes across Scotland.
We continue to find creative and ground-breaking ways to make the most of a method of funding called Financial Transactions. These are allocated to the Scottish Government by HM Treasury and have particular rules around their use. We have made a series of announcements on our spending plans for the financial year 2015–2016, with more to follow.
Scotland has achieved its historic 2012 homelessness commitment. Now all of those assessed as unintentionally homeless by local authorities will be entitled to settled accommodation as a legal right.
The Energy Assistance Scheme has now closed.
The Scottish Government will launch a new national scheme later in 2015. More information on the scheme and the eligibility criteria will be made available here in due course. In the meantime, contact the Home Energy Scotland hotline on 0808 808 2282 or visit the Greener Scotland website for free and impartial advice on how to make your home cheaper to heat.