Shelter Scotland today hailed the 29% reduction in evictions by Scottish councils as a major improvement and evidence its campaigning efforts have paid off, but warned action is needed to prevent a second wave of evictions (1).
The latest figures from the Scottish Government reveal evictions dropped from 1,773 across Scotland in 2008/2009 to 1,262 in 2009/2010 (2) thanks to the good practice of many local authorities.
The housing charity is calling for action from the Scottish Government to introduce new legal requirements to protect struggling tenants from eviction at a time when rising unemployment could lead to a rise in homelessness.
The call comes on the back of the recent publication of responses to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Eviction of Tenants in the Social Rented Sector. The report showed 78% of respondents supported the introduction of legally enforceable pre-action requirements to ensure every step is taken to avoid eviction (3).
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity, said:
“It is good news that evictions have reduced across Scotland and we are pleased to see our campaigning efforts in this area have been making an impact. But more and more people are struggling financially in the current economic climate and there are tough times ahead. Many councils have made major improvements but we cannot be complacent.
“To prevent a second wave of evictions, it is essential the Scottish Government heeds the overwhelming support for the introduction of legal requirements which will make eviction a truly last resort.”
Mr Brown added:
“We would urge anyone who is facing housing issues or homelessness to seek advice urgently. Call Shelter Scotland’s helpline on 0808 800 4444 or go to www.shelter.org.uk/getadvice”
Notes to Editors:
2. The majority of evictions are owing to rent arrears with only 4% of local authority evictions being for Anti-Social Behaviour this year.
3. The figures include evictions and post-decree abandonments (i.e. where a tenant abandons a property after a decree for eviction has been granted). This recognises that, in some cases, when facing imminent eviction, the tenant abandons the property and that, while the formal recovery of the property is through the abandonment procedure rather than the social landlord enforcing its legal right to evict, the tenant would not have abandoned the property were it not for the decree being sought and granted. This is a standard recording mechanism used by local authorities, and the Scottish Housing Regulator.
4. 69 out of 88 respondents that answered the consultation question about the introduction of Pre-Action Requirements supported the introduction of this measure. To read a summary of the report click here.
5. Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity. Shelter Scotland believes that everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
6. Spokespeople are available for interview, telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line number is available for broadcast interviews.
7. For more information about Shelter Scotland visit www.shelter.org.uk
Contact: Nicola Baxter, Amanda Howie
Phone: 0844 515 2442