The Future of Social Homes for Rent in Scotland

Research issued: 13/12/2018

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Scottish councils would like to build eight times more social homes for rent according to our latest research.

When polled, 48 per cent of councils in Scotland expressed that they are very concerned about the number of social rented homes being built in their area and that they would like to build eight times more. Out of 1,000 Scottish adults surveyed, 87 per cent said they were also 'very concerned' by the lack of social housing for rent in Scotland.

The cause of the problem: a broken model

Housing associations have increasingly taken responsibility for the delivery of social rented homes. In Scotland 160 Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) built just an average of 19 homes for social rent in Scotland in 2017-18. This slow rate of build cannot be attributed to short term factors like Brexit or the 2005 change in financial borrowing rules. RSLs are not building enough homes and those that are being built are costly.

The average RSL home costs £130,000 to build, yet in the private sector homes are being delivered for 30 per cent less in England and Wales where building and land costs are higher.

Senior officers at local authorities in Scotland are concerned about the pace social homes for rent are being built. While RSLs manage estates effectively and are vital to regeneration, a reliance on the model is not providing enough homes for social rent. 137,000 households in Scotland are currently on the housing waiting list, at the current rate of construction it will be 33 years until everyone has a home.

Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive

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