Disaster fears as evictions from social housing properties soar

The variety of struggling social housing tenants being evicted from their properties over non-payment of hire has soared in Scotland.

New figures obtained by the Sunday Mail present 77 households have been faraway from their properties within the first three months of this 12 months – in comparison with solely 4 in the identical interval in 2021.

The cost-of-living disaster has been blamed by campaigners, who’re calling for the Scottish Government to intervene.

The figures have been launched final week by watchdog physique the Scottish Housing Regulator and present 218 family evictions since January 2021.

Garry Burns, of Homeless Action Scotland, mentioned: “We warned in August 2021 that councils and housing associations would begin to evict the backlog of tenants who had not been capable of pay their hire through the pandemic.

“Evictions have devastating impacts on individuals, families and communities. Vulnerable people need the Scottish Government to intervene.”

The Scottish Government introduced in a blanket ban on all evictions in April 2020 to guard tenants who had fallen behind with funds. But the 13-month order was lifted in May final 12 months.

Council and housing affiliation tenants racked up £167million in hire arrears through the pandemic. Most evictions within the final 15 months – 178 – have been by housing associations. There was additionally a 2000 per cent rise within the variety of tenants taken to courtroom by councils – from 17 within the first three months of 2021 to 366 this 12 months.

Sean Clerkin, of the Scottish Tenants Organisation, mentioned: “The cost-of-living crisis is accelerating evictions for rent arrears. The Scottish Government has to introduce a rent freeze for private and public renters and bring back the eviction ban.”

Shelter Scotland’s Alison Watson mentioned: “We need to see a rapid expansion of social housing but there also needs to be enhanced protections and support for existing tenants.”

Peter Kelly, of Poverty Alliance, mentioned: “We have been calling on the Scottish Government to work with councils, lenders and landlords to create write-off schemes for unsustainable debts like council tax and rent arrears.”

Aaron Hill, of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, mentioned: “Evictions for non-payment of rent in our sector are rare. However, they remain a last resort in cases of anti-social or criminal behaviour or if a tenant does not respond to their social landlord’s efforts to agree a payment plan.”

Tenants’ Rights Minister Patrick Harvie mentioned: “Whilst eviction actions initiated in court by social landlords have increased in the last year they are still substantially below pre-pandemic levels.

“All landlords should be doing whatever they can to keep people in tenancies and take eviction action only as a last resort.

“To help do that, we have provided £83m in housing support this year and £39m of additional funding to avoid evictions as a result of the pandemic, including a £10 million tenant grant fund for those who have fallen into arrears.”

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Last 12 months Citizens Advice Scotland noticed a 15 p.c improve in queries from individuals threatened with homelessness.

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