OPINION

Ryan Clark and Lorna Findlay v South Ayrshire Council

[1] On 24 June 2016 the applicants applied to the respondents to be allowed to purchase the dwellinghouse tenanted by them from the respondents at 84 Kincaidston Drive, Ayr, of which Ms Findlay has been tenant since 30 October 2003 and Mr Clark since an unspecified date in October 2015.

[2] On the same date the respondents issued a Notice of Refusal under sec 68(1) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (“the 1987 Act”). The reason given for refusal was that the applicants did not have the right to purchase the property under sec 61(1) of the 1987 Act, that right having been suspended by the designation of the area in which the applicants lived as a “pressured area” by the Scottish Ministers and the property having been let under a tenancy created on or after 30 September 2002, all in terms of sec 61B(3)(a) of the 1987 Act as amended. Said designation had taken place on 24 June 2011 and had continued in existence until the abolition of the right to buy.

[3] In this appeal the appellants do not dispute that their home is within what was, at the time of their application to buy it, a “pressured area”, nor do they take any legal points about the effect of that status. All that is said is that refusal of the right to purchase “is unfair and unjust as this does not apply to other areas or [to] people with a lesser occupancy time”.

[4] Whilst we can well understand the appellants’ sense of unfairness, we require to apply the relevant law and it is not in doubt. The concept of “pressured areas” was introduced into the 1987 Act by sec 45 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001. In terms of what then became sec 61B(3) of the 1987 Act, for so long as an area was designated a pressured area, sec 61(1) (which was the basic provision conferring a right to buy on tenants in Scottish secure tenancies) was disapplied in relation to such tenancies created after 30 September 2002. Section 1 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 then abolished the right to buy completely with effect from 1 August 2016 (the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 (Commencement No. 1, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2014). The designation of the relevant property as being within a pressured area having been made on 24 June 2011 and continued in place until 1 August 2016, it is clear that the appellants’ application was made at a time when the right to buy was suspended. Accordingly the respondents were entitled to refuse their application. Accordingly this appeal, which parties have agreed can be dealt with on the basis of the written submissions, has to be refused.

[5] We have reserved questions of expenses pending any motions or submissions parties wish to make.


Certified a true copy of the statement of reasons for the decision of the Lands Tribunal for Scotland intimated to parties on 11 October 2016

Neil M Tainsh – Clerk to the Tribunal