Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 17th March 2016.

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Photo of Alex Johnstone Alex Johnstone Conservative

Amendment 107 is a duplicate of one of a small group of amendments that I lodged at stage 2. Those stage 2 amendments covered a range of matters that I believe should be grounds for eviction. However, I have brought back only one of those at stage 3, because I believe that it is the most important one and one that we need to better understand. That ground is that the property is required for an employee or retired employee.

I have worked most of my life in the rural environment and I have seen many businesses—farm related and others—that relied on having property that was made available to accommodate staff when required. Quite often, such properties are houses in far-flung rural areas where there is a housing shortage, and they are not necessarily always occupied. It is important for the owners of such properties and the businesses that rely on them to have confidence that when they are not in use, they can be rented to members of the community or others who require accommodation, knowing that they can have them back if they require them to house an employee or retired employee at some point in the future.

I do not envisage people simply being thrown out of their houses. However, I do envisage businesses in areas of housing pressure in far-flung rural areas, instead of letting their properties, simply leaving them to lie empty rather than taking the risk of not being able to get them back. That would be a missed opportunity. We could make more housing available in areas of great need but, by failing to take this approach, good business decisions will be made to leave houses empty rather than use them to house people without homes.

I move amendment 107.