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Council consults on rented housing pressured area status

Issued: 29 Jun 2010

People in the Highlands are being asked to make their views known on 'Pressured Area Status' concerning socially rented housing provided by The Highland Council and housing associations.

Many communities in Highland are already covered by Pressured Area Status designation which over the last 5 years has helped to prevent social rented housing being sold through the Right to Buy. The Highland Council applied to the Scottish Government for Pressured Area Status to try to address the severe and persistent lack of affordable housing in the area.

Pressured Area Status designation means that tenants in designated communities who have been given a new tenancy on or after 30 September 2002 have their 'Right to Buy' suspended for 5 years.

The Highland Council is proposing to apply to the Scottish Government to have Pressured Area Status renewed and extended to all Highland communities with the exception of Caithness where Pressured Area Status designation will be sought for Thurso and small neighbouring communities of Forss, Geise, Glengolly, Janetstown, Scrabster, and Weydale.

If Pressured Area Status is extended anyone with a Scottish Secure tenancy that started in their current home on or after 30 September 2002 would have their Right to Buy suspended unless they live in Caithness outside of Thurso and its small neighbouring communities of Forss, Geise, Glengolly, Janetstown, Scrabster, and Weydale.

If approved, the Pressured Area Status designation will come into force later this year, before the current designation comes to an end in November 2010.

Pressured Area Status designations last for 5 years after which local authorities can re-apply.

The Council is seeking views and comments on its application to renew and extend Pressured Area Status. More information on pressured area status designation is on the Council's website www.highland.gov.uk/ at the Housing and Social Work Committee agenda for 19 May 2010.

Comments should be sent to: Housing Strategy Officer, The Highland Council, Housing & Property Services, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX; or e-mailed to housingandproperty@highland.gov.uk by Monday 26th July 2010.

Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee said: "We recognise the desire of many tenants to become owners and help them buy a home of their own at a price they can afford. Through the Government's LIFT home ownership scheme, shared equity houses are available to buy in communities across Highland at discounted prices from housing associations. As well as having priority, Council and housing association tenants are eligible to buy these on special terms. Hundreds of people have already benefited from this scheme.

"I urge tenants, individuals and communities across Highland to make their views known to the Council on Pressured Area Status and to identify communities where there are shortages of socially rented housing."

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