Sales of Local Authority Housing to Sitting Tenants (Right to Buy)
After a small upturn in 2002-03, public authority right to buy sales (including local authorities with total stock transfers) declined consistently to a level of 1,209 in 2012-13, and has been increasing since then.
In 2016-17 right to buy sales increased by 68% from the previous year to 3,510. 32% of 2016-17 sales were under modernised terms.
Chart 9 shows the scale of sales to sitting tenants since the inception of the Right to Buy scheme in 1979.
Chart 9: Sales to sitting tenants of public authority
The introduction of Right to Buy legislation in 1979 had a substantial impact on the profile of Scottish housing. Over the years, nearly half a million public sector properties have been sold under the Right to Buy scheme. The annual rate of sales to sitting tenants peaked at just under 40,000 in 1989, at the height of the housing boom. It then fell rapidly in the early 1990s as the housing market crashed, settling at around 15,000 per year from the mid-1990s onwards. Legislation introduced as part of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 then resulted in significant changes in Right to Buy terms for new tenants from 2002-03. Following the change in legislation, new tenants were on modernised terms which in most cases meant they could not buy until October 2007 at the earliest, and on less favourable terms than previously. Further changes to the Right to Buy rules were made in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010. The Act included provisions to end the Right to Buy for new supply social housing and for new tenants from 2 nd March 2011. It also introduced more flexibility and local control over the designation of pressured areas.
After a small upturn in 2002-03, public authority right to buy sales (including local authorities with total stock transfers) declined consistently to a level of 1,209 for 2012-13. In 2013 the Scottish Government announced that the Right to Buy was to end for all tenants. This is likely to be responsible for the number of sales more than doubling in the latest 4 years, as tenants buy their homes whilst they still have the opportunity. The provision to end Right to Buy with a two year notice period was included in the Housing (Scotland) Act which received Royal Assent on 1 st August 2014, and the scheme subsequently closed to all new applicants on 31 st July 2016.
Excluding stock transfer local authorities there were 2,994 Right to Buy sales in 2016-17, which was up 73% on the previous year.
Up to and including 2016-17 there have been 5,554 sales of public authority housing under modernised terms and in the latest year 32% of sales were under modernised terms. This proportion has been steadily rising since their introduction in 2002-03.
Chart 10, below, shows the numbers of sales in each local authority under the old and modernised terms for 2016-17. This chart includes sales of former council houses in local authorities which transferred their stock to housing associations. Fife had the highest number of sales at 279, followed by North Lanarkshire at 262.
Chart 10: Sales to sitting tenants of public authority
Link to tables on sales of social sector housing: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Housing-Regeneration/HSfS/Sales
Email: Esther Laird, firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
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