§ Mr. Henderson
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local authorities require their tenants to waive their rights to purchase under the Tenants' Rights, etc. (Scotland) Act 1980 before improvements are carried out to their houses; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. George Younger
As far as I am aware, the City of Glasgow District Council is the only local authority to do so. They attempt to make it a condition that the tenant will not exercise his right to buy for 10 years or, if he does, repay the Council a proportion of the cost of the improvement works.
In order to put it beyond doubt that any agreements of this type were unenforceable at law, the Local Government and Planning (Scotland) Act 1982 amended the Tenants' Rights Etc. (Scotland) Act 1980 to make it explicit that no agreement can remove a tenant's right to purchase and that no tenant exercising his right to purchase shall be liable for any charge or financial penalty as a consequence. These amendments came into force in September and were notified to local authorities, including Glasgow, by circular letter in the normal way.
In these circumstances, I find it difficult to construe Glasgow District Council's continued use of these agreements as anything other than a conscious attempt to mislead tenants as to their statutory rights. This is a serious departure from the standards to be expected from any local authority in its dealings with the public and is a matter which my Department is pursuing with the District Council.