Analysis of Responses to the Future of Right to Buy in Scotland Consultation

The research report presents the findings from an analysis of responses to the future of Right to Buy in Scotland consultation. The findings show who has responded to the consutlation and the key themes emerging from the responses.


1.1 Right to Buy was originally introduced in 1980 with its current form based in the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 and amended by the Housing (Scotland) Acts of 2001 and 2010. The 2001 Act made changes which 'preserved' the entitlements of existing tenants and introduced 'modernised' entitlements for new tenancies that started on or after 30 September 2002. The 2010 Act maintained these entitlements but ended the right to buy for new tenants, those returning to the sector after a break and for new supply houses.

1.2 Since the right to buy was introduced around 455,000 properties have been bought using the scheme. The policy has been instrumental in shifting the pattern of home ownership in Scotland with 65% of Scottish homes now owner-occupied. Whilst enabling many families to become home owners and helping to create more mixed tenure communities, right to buy has also depleted the number of homes available to rent from social landlords. The Scottish Government recognises that many people want to own their homes, but it does not believe that this should be at the expense of homes in the social rented sector.

1.3 There is a high demand for affordable rented housing. The reduction in such housing available to rent has resulted in longer waiting lists. Local authorities also have responsibilities for housing homeless people. In the financial year 2011 to 2012 there were 45,322 homeless applications.

1.4 In 'Homes Fit for the 21st Century: The Scottish Government's Strategy and Action Plan for Housing in the Next Decade: 2011-2020[1], the Scottish Government said that it would consult on ways to reform the preserved right to buy to make it fair for both tenants and landlords. During 2012 the Scottish Government held a series of consultative seminars with a range of stakeholders including local authorities, Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and tenant groups. It published a written consultation paper on 7 June 2012 and sought views by 30 August 2012 on a number of proposals for reforming the right to buy legislation. This report presents an analysis of the responses to the written consultation.

Written consultation responses

1.5 One hundred and sixty nine responses to the consultation were submitted and analysed. Of these, 164 formal responses were received and have been made publicly available on the Scottish Government website[2] unless the respondent has specifically requested otherwise. One hundred and forty one responses (83%) were submitted by organisations, with 29 (17%) submissions from individuals. Table 1 shows the numbers of responses by category of respondent. RSLs comprised the largest respondent group, submitting 35% of all responses received. Tenant and resident groups submitted 19% of responses. Twenty six local authorities provided a written submission. The full list of the organisations responding to the consultation is in Annex 1.

Table 1: Number of responses by category of respondent[3]

Category Abbreviation used in report Number Percentage %
Registered Social Landlords RSLs 59 35
Tenant/Resident Groups Ten Gp 32 19
Local Authorities LA 26 15
Representative bodies Rep 10 6
Voluntary groups/Charities Vol 8 5
Other Oth 5 3
Total organisations 140 83
Individuals Ind 29 17
Total 169 100

1.6 An electronic database was used to collate the written responses to assist analysis. This database stored free text in a systematic manner whilst providing the flexibility for amendments as the work progressed. The fields used to record the material were based on questions used in the consultation document. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches to analysing the responses were adopted to reflect the nature of the consultation questions, many of which combined both closed and open elements.

Report of findings

1.7 The following 5 chapters document the substance of the analysis. Chapter 2 examines views on the need for more changes to the right to buy legislation. Chapter 3 documents views on the likely financial impact which changes will have on landlords. Other possible changes to the legislation are considered in chapter 4. An assessment of the implications for equal opportunities is reported in chapter 5. Finally, views on the business and regulatory impact assessment are summarised in chapter 6.


Email: Paul Sloan

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