Publication - Consultation paper

Homes that don't cost the earth: a consultation on Scotland's Sustainable Housing Strategy

Published: 25 Jun 2012
Part of:
Housing
ISBN:
9781780458854

This consultation paper sets out our vision for a housing sector that helps to establish a successful low carbon economy across Scotland.

Homes that don't cost the earth: a consultation on Scotland's Sustainable Housing Strategy
ANNEX B - DRAFT PRIVATE SECTOR HOUSE CONDITION ACTION PLAN

ANNEX B - DRAFT PRIVATE SECTOR HOUSE CONDITION ACTION PLAN

This Action Plan sets out proposals to improve private sector housing quality as part of the work of the Sustainable Housing Strategy Group. This contributes to -

  • The Scottish Government Housing Vision: All people in Scotland live in high quality sustainable homes.
  • Homes Fit For The 21st Century: We will encourage measures that improve the quality of existing homes and ensure that home owners and private landlords are aware of their responsibilities.
  • The Scottish Government Economic Recovery Plan: Action to improve the quality of existing housing stock to tackle fuel poverty and achieve climate change targets.
  • The work of Historic Scotland to improve the condition of historic and traditional buildings.

Issue

Possible Activity

Type of Action

Action By

Timescale

Links

Theme 1: The need for a "culture shift"

Although owners are spending more than £2 billion each year on their homes the underlying level of disrepair in private sector homes is not improving. We think that it is necessary to encourage (1) a greater priority for structural work over refurbishments and (2) to promote routine maintenance as the most cost effective way to reduce disrepair. It may be useful to set out a "hierarchy of needs" to encourage home owners to prioritise the most important kinds of work when planning investment in their own homes. Economic benefits from jobs in construction and health benefits from better homes

1 5 6

41% of owners spending £2.1bn on homes but underlying disrepair is not improving and relatively low priority is given to maintenance

Research in attitudes to repair and maintenance

Research

Scottish Government, Academics

2012-13 (subject to workplan)

Develop a hierarchy of needs to help owners prioritise work

Engagement and wider consultation

Scottish Government, construction sector, consumer groups

2012-13

3 4

Improve owner awareness of the benefits of regular maintenance to preserve the value of their property.

Awareness Campaign on benefits of proactive maintenance

Scottish Government, local authorities

To follow research

( 2) 3 4

59% of owners not spending on care of their property

Provide better information about maintenance at point of transaction ( e.g. home report, input from lenders)

Review and possible change to secondary legislation

Coordinate with home report review (scheduled for 2013)

Engage with lenders

Scottish Government, Council of Mortgage Lenders, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

2012-2014

Home Report Review (scheduled for 2013)

Role of lenders - condition reflected in buying behaviours

Engage with lenders

Scottish Government, Council of Mortgage Lenders, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Consumer Focus Scotland

2012-14

Identify initiatives which can improve owner awareness ( e.g. building MOTs) - what lessons can we learn?

Engagement with owners of initiatives

Scottish Government, construction industry representatives

2012-2014

Require action for some kinds of work at point of sale

Scottish Government, Council of Mortgage Lenders, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Consumer Focus Scotland

3

Identify levers needed to improve quality in the private rented sector

Coordinate quality issues with PRS strategy group

Scottish Government and stakeholders

2012-13

Link between single survey and Scottish House Condition Survey

Comparison and opportunities for links

Scottish Government

Home Report

Campaign for reduction in VAT for repairs and maintenance

Liaise with OCEA and Historic Scotland

Scottish Government, UK Government

2012 and ongoing

Office of the Chief Economic Adviser, Historic Scotland

Theme 2: Particular problems of mixed and shared blocks

There can be particular obstacles for owners who are motivated to carry out repairs and maintenance on common parts in tenements. This arises from the need to secure consent and payment from owners. There are additional problems in mixed tenure blocks and this is affected by different standards applying in different tenures.

7

Obtaining consent and cooperation (including payment of share) of co-owners for work

Review statutory definition of "improvements" - should some types be enforceable/ majority decision

Consultation on legislation for any changes

Scottish Government - Input to prospective Housing Bill

Consultation

Summer 2012

3, 4

Theme 4

Establish whether suitable maintenance account products currently available

Research

Scottish Government

2012-13 (subject to workplan)

Consult on mandatory sinking funds for new tenements to reduce problems in future

Consultation on legislation

Scottish Government - Input to prospective Housing Bill

Consultation

Summer 2012

6

New builds

Ability to switch property factors

Consultation to seek views

Scottish Government

Summer 2012

Different standards apply to private and social landlords and owner occupiers in the same block

Review standards in different sectors to reduce differences ( e.g. apply some elements of SHQS to all properties, or mixed tenures)

Consultation to seek views of stakeholders

Scottish Government

Summer 2012

4

Research into relation between disrepair and measures needed for energy efficiency

Research - statistical analysis

Scottish Government

2012-13 (subject to workplan)

3, 4

Coordinate policies for works to whole blocks - e.g. cavity wall insulation or other condition or energy efficiency elements of SHQS to apply more widely.

Consultation to seek views

Scottish Government

Summer 2012

3, 4

Property Factor Switching

Investigate interdependence of repair and energy efficiency - what kinds of disrepair prevent/inhibit energy efficiency works

Consultation to seek views

Scottish Government

Summer 2012

3 ( 4)

Theme 3: The difficulties faced by low income home owners

Where owners have limited disposable income, for example pensioners on fixed incomes, the need for work may be apparent but the means to carry it out lacking. Local authority grants are now discretionary and may not be available. These owners may have substantial equity in their property, which may be a source for funding repair work. Low incomes also restricts owners' capacity to fund ongoing maintenance, which could prevent more costly repairs.

3, 4

Need for support and advice for low income owners

Include maintenance and repair in equity models to support wider planning for an ageing population

Coordinate with work of the Wider Planning group

Scottish Government and stakeholders

2012-13 and ongoing

Consider whether rent control and house condition should be linked, if housing benefit were to be devolved

Policy development

Scottish Government (part of debate on independence)

2012-2016

Funding models for low income owners

Closer integration of funding programmes linking repairs with other granted works ( e.g. UHIS, boiler scrappage scheme)

Internal review of policy areas - cross divisional team/working group

Scottish Government

2012-13 and ongoing

Theme 4: Levers for enforcement

Local authorities have powers to require owners to bring sub-standard houses into a reasonable state of repair and can require owners to prepare maintenance plans. However, because of the scale of the cost of comprehensively addressing disrepair across all private sector stock we believe that these powers are only being used reactively or to target only the most serious cases.

4, 6

Improvements to local authority powers - levers to encourage works

Power to enforce improvements

Consult on changes to the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006

Scottish Government - Input to prospective Housing Bill

Local authorities - case studies of current powers

Registers of Scotland - would have input to ensure registration processes are robust

Consultation Summer 2012

3

Power to enforce majority decisions under the tenement management scheme

Ability to pay missing shares for work notices and/or enforce majority decisions

Link work notices and maintenance orders

Streamline maintenance orders

Housing renewal area type powers for work notices

Repayment charges for commercial properties

Alternative levers for private landlords: fit and proper person test, restriction on lets

Consultation - coordinate with PRS strategy

Scottish Government - Input to prospective Housing Bill

Consultation

Summer 2012

PRS Strategy Group

Third party referrals to the Private Rented Housing Panel ( e.g. by local authorities)

Consultation - coordinate with PRS strategy

Scottish Government - Input to prospective Housing Bill

Consultation

Summer 2012

PRS Strategy Group

Should there be targets for particular types of disrepair ( e.g. BTS properties - new thermal insulation criteria)

Consultation to seek views of stakeholders

Scottish Government, local authorities

Summer 2012

Encourage improvements in non-traditional building types classed as defective

Engage with lenders on results of current research project - possible repeal of part 14 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987

Scottish Government, Buildings Research Establishment, Council of Mortgage Lenders

2012-13

Enforcement of repairs to empty homes: are additional powers needed?

Coordinate with Empty Homes strategy

Scottish Government

2012-13

Empty homes


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