Monday 20 May 2013

Scots face postcode eviction lottery from Scottish Government approach; 150,000 Scots denied protection from bedroom tax evictions

Scotland's Housing Minister has written to the Scottish Parliament's Petitions Committee rejecting GLC's call for legislation to prevent bedroom tax evictions in Scotland, and instead has suggested the approach of Dundee City Council (DCC) is to be preferred.

The temporary one year approach of DCC involves not evicting council tenants for bedroom tax arrears 'where the Director of Housing is satisfied that affected tenants are doing all they can be reasonably expected to in order to avoid falling into arrears'.

GLC believes DCC's approach is a step in the right direction - albiet we prefer an independent and impartial court based solution  - but remain puzzled as to how the Scottish Government can on the one hand support DCC's approach to no evictions for bedroom tax arrears, yet fail to ensure that all tenants of social landlords enjoy the same approach in Scotland? 

Only a handful of Scotland's councils have agreed to the approach embraced by the Housing Minister, which means there are approximately 150,000 Scots who reside in tenancies in the social rented sector exposed to a postcode eviction lottery from the bedroom tax. Many of these Scots are particulary vulnerable through disabilities, physical or mental ill-health, or financial exclusion.

None of the half a million or so Scots who reside in housing association properties are being offered any protection against bedroom tax eviction from the Scottish Government DCC approach, nor are the vast majority of council tenants in Scotland offered any hope - despite the fact, the Scottish Government could easily legislate to provide the same protection for all Scots in the social rented sector, which the Housing Minister believes is right and proper for a handful of council tenants to currently enjoy.

GLC believes that the Scottish Government has a responsibility to ensure that all tenants of social landlords in Scotland enjoy the same equality of protection against eviction for bedroom tax arrears; and that at the very least, the Scottish Ministers should use their powers to ensure all such tenants have the same equality of protection which the Housing Minister's supports in her letter to the Petitions Committee.

1 comment:

  1. I'm finding it a bit bewildering just now as to why the plight of social tenants being affected by the bedroom tax is any worse than tenants in private rental accommodation being affected by similar legislation that has been in place for a while now. I rent in the private sector BECAUSE there is no public sector housing available for me.
    My rent has a considerable shortfall, and if I get evicted (as will probably happen if I can't get a job soon enough, especially given that I am on a Short Assured tenancy and the first six months has now finished. I don't even have the security of LA/Social housing tenures) then I'll be joining the ranks of the homeless and will be a further addition to the problem. But currently no-one is even listening to the plight of tenants in the private rental sector. I am not well off. I do not have a job. It took me months to find anyone willing to even offer me a tenancy. The current legislation re Landlord Registration, the deposit schemes and Gas checks etc is fine but at the end of the day you get desperate enough to waive your rights, and as for the deposit scheme: yes I could take report my landlord: certain outcome - eviction.