5.The main purpose of the Act is to address problems of condition and quality in private sector housing (although some provisions also relate to the social rented sector). Owner occupation is now the largest tenure and the whole private sector, including private rented housing, amounts to over 70% of Scottish housing.
6.The findings of the 2002 Scottish House Condition Survey showed the extent of these problems. For example, in the owner-occupied sector 27% of houses and 40% of flats had at least one element in a state of urgent disrepair (which means that, if repair is not carried out, the fabric of the building would deteriorate further or health and safety would be placed at risk).
7.The approach taken by this Act is based on the work of the Housing Improvement Task Force, which was set up by Ministers in December 2000. Its remit was to consider issues relating to housing quality in the private sector and the house buying and selling process. The Task Force’s first report, Issues in Improving Quality in Private Housing (2002), confirmed that, although most private sector housing is in good condition, a significant proportion is in poor repair. The Task Force published its final report and recommendations, Stewardship and Responsibility: A Policy Framework for Private Sector Housing in Scotland, in March 2003. The Act builds on those recommendations.