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CIH Scotland responds to call for views on Housing (Scotland) Bill

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CIH Scotland has told the Scottish Parliament that it welcomes domestic abuse and homelessness prevention contained in the proposed new Housing (Scotland) Bill but that serious questions remain over the implementation of the measures.

The Scottish Parliament’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee and Social Justice and Social Security Committee have recently undertaken a public consultation on the Scottish Government’s Housing (Scotland) Bill. The Finance and Public Administration Committee has also invited views on the Financial Memorandum of the Bill.

The Bill contains six main parts, addressing areas such as rent control, eviction procedures, tenant rights, and homelessness. It seeks to introduce measures to enhance tenant protections, prevent homelessness, and promote sustainable housing solutions.

Responding to the consultation, CIH Scotland’s policy and practice manager, Ashley Campbell, said: “We welcome the chance to comment on the new Housing (Scotland) Bill and are supportive of the Bill in principle. Proposed measures on domestic abuse and homelessness prevention have the potential to make a positive impact, however, we also have some serious concerns around implementation.

“While we agree that affordability issues in the private rented sector need to be addressed, proposed rent control measures have the potential to cause greater uncertainty, leading to a risk of landlords leaving the sector and discouraging investment in new supply.

“Our members are generally supportive of proposals to introduce a new homelessness prevention duty, and the potential for this to build partnerships on a more formal basis. However, the lack of detail about how the ‘ask and act’ duty might work in practice is concerning and there is a danger that this simply becomes a referral route into local authority homelessness services that are already underfunded.

“We also have significant concerns about the levels of resources that will be required to effectively implement the measures set out in the Bill. Without adequate resources for implementation, the Bill will not make a positive difference. Indeed, if rent control measures lead to loss of residential supply, the Bill could worsen the current housing emergency.”

CIH Scotland said it has been working extensively with its members throughout the process of the Bill’s development to ensure that their experience and expertise is reflected, hosting a series of roundtables and online surveys.

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