The implementation of rights in housing law
This thesis examines a range of issues concerning legal rights implementation in the field of Scottish housing law. This examination comprises three principle themes: firstly, an evaluation of the broad range of factors that can affect the implementation of legal rights. These factors are gleaned from an extensive literature review. Secondly, a critical analysis of key factors that affect the implementation of rights in respect of two Scottish councils, including assessment of the implementation of a select cluster of legal rights. Thirdly, drawing conclusions that identify the key factors pertinent to rights implementation. Legal developments in the field of housing have been diverse. But there has been little systematic study in the housing field of those factors that affect the implementation of legal rights. The thesis considers these factors in detail and reveals a complicated nexus of inter-relating elements that either contribute to or inhibit effective rights implementation. Political and ideological influences are shown to be significant, as is the influence of the legal process itself. But paramount in explaining rights implementation is the complex relationship that exists between council landlords and their tenants. Tenants, as key players in deciding to exercise their rights, often fail to do so; while landlords, charged by Central Government with the administrative task of implementing legal provisions, can be remiss in accomplishing their legal duties as a result of various organisational deficiencies. Organisational systems theory is applied to identify key organisational elements that are critical to ensure effective rights implementation. These elements are analysed in detail in the fieldwork that evaluates the organisational practices of two Scottish councils; this fieldwork incorporates analysis of implementation of four specific legal housing rights. Findings suggest that rights implementation is often ineffective, this failing attributable to a number of specific organisational deficiencies that include dearth of strategic planning, inadequacy of policy and procedural documentation, inappropriate work practices including lack of relevant performance indicators, ineffective communication systems and, crucially, under-developed training programmes for housing staff.