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Housing renewal areas

If the council decides that a significant number of houses in a certain area are substandard, or any house is adversely affecting the appeal of the area, it can declare it a 'housing renewal area' (HRA). It must then consult on a plan to improve the area, and can send out notices to home owners there, ordering them to bring their properties up to a reasonable standard. HRAs replace the previous system of designating 'housing action areas'.

What is a housing renewal area?

A housing renewal area (HRA) is part of a council's area that has been marked out by the council as needing improvement in the condition and quality of housing in the area. This could be because houses in the area are substandard or lowering the appeal of the neighbourhood.

A property may be substandard if:

  • it doesn't meet the tolerable standard (this means that it doesn't meet a basic level or repair and lacks important facilities such as an indoor toilet – you can find out more about the tolerable standard)
  • it's in a serious state of disrepair
  • it's in need of repair and likely to deteriorate rapidly and/or cause damage to other premises if nothing is done to repair it.

An HRA may consist of just a few properties (for example, three tenements in a row) or may cover a larger area.

If it decides that it wants to designate an HRA, the council must draw up a plan (called an 'HRA action plan') to improve the condition and quality of housing in the area.

How will I know what the council is planning?

Before this plan can be put into action, the council must go through a consultation process on a draft HRA designation order. This will contain an action plan and a map setting out the area of the proposed HRA. The consultation process should last at least three months. This means that everyone in the area will get a chance to see the plan (for example, online or at the council's offices) and make comments on it.

If your home is in a proposed HRA, the council will write to you, to let you know how you can access the plans and what help it proposes to offer through its scheme of assistance. The council will also put an advert in at least two local papers.

What if I'm unhappy about the HRA action plan?

Before the plan is finalised, the council can make changes to it in response to feedback, although it won't be able to extend the boundaries of the HRA. If you're not happy about the way the plan affects your home, you should contact the council about it during the consultation phase. Talk to an adviser at a Shelter advice service or Citizens Advice if you need any help with this.

What happens once the plan has been finalised?

Once the plan has been finalised and approved by Scottish Ministers, the council will make an HRA designation order. This confirms that the HRA plan is going to go ahead. The council will send you a notice to let you know about the designation order, and tell you where you can access the finished plan.

The action plan will set out what work needs to be done to what houses, although not all houses in an HRA may require work. If you do need to carry out any repairs or improvements to your home as part of the plan because it is substandard, the council will send you a work notice.

The action plan can also specify whether any houses need to be demolished. If your house ought to be demolished because it is in a state of serious disrepair, you'll be sent a demolition notice, a demolition order or a dangerous building notice.

The council can still make changes to the HRA plan once the designation order has been made, in certain circumstances. If you're still not happy about the way your home is affected, contact the council as soon as you receive notification of the order.

What if I'm concerned about disrepair in my area?

If you're worried that houses in your area are falling into disrepair and are adversely affecting the neighbourhood, you can let the council know. The council will take your concerns into account when deciding whether or not to declare an HRA.

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The important points

  • A housing renewal area (HRA) is an area that has been marked out by the council as needing improvement in the condition of housing in the area.
  • Before this plan can be put into action, the council must go through a consultation process.
  • If you're not happy about the way the HRA affects your home, you should contact the council about it during the consultation phase.
  • Once the plan has been finalised and approved by Scottish Ministers, the council will make an HRA designation order

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