Monday, 11 July 2011

Risk of homelessness to private tenants from Scottish housing associations' debt recovery practice

GHA's CEO, Martin Armstrong
Govan Law Centre (GLC) has raised concern over the growing practice of Scottish housing associations using 'arrestments in execution' against private sector tenants in relation to debts owed by their landlords to housing associations, generally in the association's capacity as a property factor.

GLC believes this policy will force private sector tenants to incur rent arrears, exposing them to eviction, the risk of homelessness and unnecessary detriment. Housing association officers typically refer to such arrestments as 'rent arrestments' and use them every month or four weeks, repeatedly, against individual 'innocent' private sector tenants.

GLC's Principal Solicitor has today written to Martin Armstrong, CEO of the Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) to express the law centre's concern that this policy is disproportionate, regressive, and ultimately puts innocent private sector tenants through unnecessary detriment, with the risk of homelessness. Other housing association landlords in Glasgow are using this practice against private tenants, and GLC believes the Scottish Government should intervene to examine the practice and consequences of this policy.

Lindsay Paterson, Solicitor with Govanhill Law Centre said: "We believe this policy causes unnecessary cyclical monthly detriment to innocent private sector tenants, and exposes them to unnecessary potential fines and emotional distress".

"It can be a frightening experience for our clients to have sheriff officers come to their door to serve such documents on a regular basis, and in our experience the service of schedules of arrestment is causing significant distress and inconvenience to ‘innocent’ private sector tenants".

"We hope the GHA and other social landlords will reconsider their policies here and stop using this form of diligence against 'innoncent' private sector tenants".


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