Evictions by social landlords across Scotland have continued to decrease and the numbers of tenants in arrears is down over the last year, according to new analysis by Shelter Scotland.
In total, there were 1,918 evictions in 2010/2011 – 13% fewer than the previous year – bringing the total cut in evictions to 46% since Shelter Scotland started publishing its annual analysis four years ago.
There were 1,157 evictions by local authorities and 761 by Registered Social Landlords [RSLs]. Of the 26 local authority landlords, only 2 (two) showed a significant increase in evictions.
The analysis also shows further good progress on arrears – the number of tenants in arrears actually fell by 1% while the total amount of rent arrears rose slightly by 6%. Significantly, several social landlords saw a reduction in both evictions and arrears – dispelling the myth that reducing evictions leads inevitably to an increase in arrears.
Shelter Scotland is currently working successfully with social landlords such as Glasgow Housing Association and Stirling Council on practical solutions to further reduce arrears and evictions. It singled out East Lothian Council for praise for achieving a 50% reduction in evictions and 15% reduction in total rent arrears during 2010/11.
However the housing and homelessness charity says it is disturbed by the rise in evictions last year by East Ayrshire and Fife councils – which it says indicates a change in policy and backward step.
Shelter Scotland, which provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties, says, overall, the figures are very encouraging, especially given the challenging financial climate. It also warned those landlords with increased eviction levels that they needed to do better and could learn from the successful best practice of other councils.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, says:
“We have been campaigning to make eviction the last resort for social landlords and to see eviction numbers almost halved within four years is a resounding success. We congratulate those local authorities and RSLs who have made major progress in reducing evictions and urge those who are falling behind to look again at their policies and practices.
“Even more encouraging is the fact that progressive landlords are reducing evictions and arrears simultaneously. However, with 78,000 threats of eviction issued last year, too many social landlords are still using the threat of eviction as a rent collection method.
”At a time when cuts are hitting home and more people are struggling with household budgets, this analysis of the last four years is strong evidence that by working closely with tenants to find a solution, social landlords can still reduce arrears and ensure eviction truly is a last resort.”
Notes to Editors:
1. A copy of the report can be downloaded from here: http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/professional_resources/policy_library/policy_library_folder/evictions_by_social_landlords_in_scotland_2010-11
2. Shelter Scotland provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties. For advice and support visit http://scotland.shelter.org.uk or call 0808 800 4444.
3. Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
Contact: Neil Baldwin
Phone: 0844 515 2442