A happy family together outdoors.

How will the new housing bill affect you?

Early in 2024 a new piece of legislation was introduce to the UK parliament with the aim of reducing the likelihood vulnerable people throughout Scotland can be made homeless. Benefits for those in East Dunbartonshire include long term rent controls for private tenancies and new rights to keep pets, amongst others. The Scottish Housing Bill 2024 has many aspects to it, but here are the main points.

 A worried family cuddle together on a bed.

Preventing homelessness

One of the key outcomes of this legislation is the aim to prevent homelessness wherever possible. Once the legislation is written into law, public authorities such as health boards and the police will be required to ask about a person’s housing situation with the aim of avoiding homelessness for them. This means they will need to ask about the housing circumstances of those they interact with and provide support. They may even refer them to their local authority.

Furthermore, local councils will be need to act six months before homelessness is imminent, instead of the current two months. This gives more time for help to arrive for those who need it most.

The bill will also update the definition of domestic abuse in current housing legislation. By doing so, it will ensure social landlords devise a policy to support tenants at risk of homelessness because of abuse.

Further benefits this legislation will bring include making it easier for those in rented accommodation to make decorative alterations to their properties. It will also be easier for renters to keep pets.

A sad woman cuddles her dog on a windowsill in a flat.

Citizens Advice reaction

Responding to the Housing (Scotland) Bill being published, Citizens Advice Scotland Housing spokesperson Aoife Deery said:
“The pandemic and cost of living crisis underlined the need for better protections for tenants and more affordable housing. In many ways the market is simply broken and urgently needs repaired.
“The CAB network in Scotland gives advice on hundreds of thousands of housing issues every year , and it is one of the top areas of crossover advice – where people seeking help with housing also need help with something else, often social security , debt or energy bills.
“In fact a third of all single, working age households contacting CABs do so for advice on housing.
“We welcome this once in a generation opportunity to improve the rented sector and shape a fairer system. We look forward to getting into the detail of the Bill. Change needs to happen with both landlords and tenants involved. We will be contributing our evidence as this work moves forward”

The Scottish Housing Bill 2024 is sure to help many people throughout the country. We are here for any worries you may have. If you are concerned about your living situation and worried that you may be made homeless, speak to one of our advisers today. East Dunbartonshire Citizens Advice is here to make sure you get the proper help you need. Contact us today.

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