Housing (Scotland) Bill 2024 – Housing Support Services

Introduction of Housing (Scotland) Bill 2024

1. The Housing (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 26 March 2024. 

New Duty to Assess Need and Supply for Housing Support Services

2. Amongst other things, part 5 makes provision about housing support services.

3. Primary legislation1Section 89 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 provides that a local authority, when required to do so by the Scottish Ministers, must assess housing provision and the provision of related services in its area. The Bill provides 2Under section 42 of the Bill that any such assessment must, in particular, assess the needs of persons in the area for, and the availability of, services that must be provided in accordance with section 32B(4) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 and other housing support services. 

Definition of Housing Support Services

4. The services that must be provided are specified in regulations. The regulations 3The Housing Support Services (Homelessness) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (S.S.I. 2012/331) specify the following services insofar as they are relevant to enabling a person to occupy, or to continue to occupy, residential accommodation as the person’s sole or main residence:

  1. advising or assisting a person with personal budgeting, debt counselling or in dealing with welfare benefit claims, 
  2. assisting a person to engage with individuals, professionals or other bodies with an interest in that person’s welfare, 
  3. advising or assisting a person in understanding and managing their tenancy rights and responsibilities, including assisting a person in disputes about those rights and responsibilities, 
  4. advising or assisting a person in settling into a new tenancy. 

Other Housing Support Services

5. Other “housing support services”4As defined by section 91(8) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001  include any service which provides support, assistance, advice or counselling to an individual with particular needs with a view to enabling that individual to occupy, or to continue to occupy, as a person’s sole or main residence, residential accommodation (other than such excepted accommodation as may be specified in regulations by the Scottish Ministers).

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