Probationary tenancies are the not the only answer to dealing with anti-social behaviour, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said today in a wide-ranging response to the Scottish Government’s proposals on how social homes are allocated.
The Federation, which broadly welcomed the proposals, sets out its recommendations today (Monday 30th April) in its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation Affordable Rented Housing: Creating Flexibility for Landlords and Better Outcomes for Tenants. (1)
Andy Young, SFHA Policy Manager, said: “We broadly welcome this range of proposals on allocations from the Scottish Government. Greater flexibility should allow landlords to make the best use of their limited housing stock and for the view of local communities to be taken into account more.
“However, we do have some concerns. Shorter tenancies, for example, or putting new tenants ‘on probation’, is not the only answer to dealing with anti-social behaviour. Housing management and housing support for vulnerable households is also required, at a level to help families experiencing difficulties sustain a tenancy in the longer term.
“Our members already do a great deal of support work with first-time tenants and we are a little concerned that putting all new tenants ‘on probation’; may be disproportionate.
“Another concern is that taking people’s income into account when considering who gets priority for housing creates a circumstance where social housing could become the tenure of last resort for those who cannot afford alternatives.
“Our members and their tenants have an unparalleled track record in creating sustainable communities and believe there should be a greater emphasis on looking at a person’s local connections or contribution to the community when allocating housing – not just their income. Economically active people must be part of the solution.”
Mr Young concluded: “By and large these are a forward-looking and flexible set of proposals from the Scottish Government which could be rendered impotent by the welfare cuts being imposed by Westminster. These cuts are casting a shadow over the whole housing association sector.”
For further information, contact Andy Young on t: 0141 567 6081 or e: firstname.lastname@example.org
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1) Information on the consultation is available on the Scottish Government’s website here http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0038/00387131.pdf
2) SFHA is a member of the Scottish Government’s Homelessness 2012 Steering Group.
3) The SFHA was established in 1975 and has around 170 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
4) The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country’s affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
5) Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.