Scottish Government moves to protect tenants from eviction

The Scottish Parliament has approved amendments to the Housing Scotland Act (2010) which will require social landlords such as housing associations and local authorities, to undertake a series of actions before they can refer a tenant to court for eviction action.

Under the amended legislation, social landlords will have to go through a series of seven key actions before removing a tenant. This includes offering tenants advice on housing benefit and making reasonable efforts to agree a repayment plan for rent arrears, before they can approach the courts.

Tenants will also be better protected when taken to court also. Even after court action, social tenants will have the right to make a repayment arrangement and avoid eviction.

Housing charity Shelter Scotland welcomed the new move and claimed that far too often social landlords have used the threat of eviction to collect rent from vulnerable families.

According to Shelter Scotland, councils carried out 1,061 evictions in the 2010-11 financial year, with other social landlords evicting 761 tenants. Shelter director Graeme Brown said: “From today, social tenants will be afforded the same protection as homeowners, which, at a time when cuts are hitting home and more people are struggling with household budgets, can only be good news.”

The new law will be of interest to private landlords who will want to avoid their tenants gaining similar protection. More than 100,000 private tenants in England and Wales are also in severe arrears according to figures in The Guardian newspaper. The figures represent a 24% year-on-year increase and the highest rate of arrears since 2008.

If you’re having problems with tenants, or would like more information about evicting private tenants see http://www.landlordaction.co.uk/site.php

Tags: