Scotland

Evictions by social landlords in Scotland drop by 33%

key in door
Image caption Evictions by social landlords have dropped by about a third in the past year

The number of tenants being evicted by social landlords in Scotland has fallen by a third, new figures suggest.

Housing charity Shelter Scotland said evictions by councils and housing associations dropped from 3,297 to 2,204 last year.

However, the charity said "too many" social landlords were still using rent arrears as a reason to remove tenants.

In total 96% of the evictions were for rent arrears, with the rest largely for anti-social behaviour.

According to its annual report, Shelter said about 75,000 threats of eviction were issued in 2009-10.

It also found that 20 out of 26 local authority landlords had made significant reductions in the number of evictions.

The level of rent arrears had also fallen by 9% over the same period.

Of those who were evicted - 1,262 were done so by local authorities, while 942 were evicted by registered social landlords (RSL).

'Extreme cases'

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: "We have been campaigning to make eviction the last resort for social landlords and these figures show that landlords are responding to our concerns.

"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."

Mr Brown said the Scottish government needed to "quickly implement" new requirements that all landlords must take before starting court action.

He added: "Our analysis shows that progressive landlords are reducing evictions and arrears at the same time.

"However, with 75,000 threats of eviction issued last year, too many social landlords are still using the threat of eviction as a rent collection tool rather than a real last resort."

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said that while it welcomed the drop in eviction rates, the option to evict in some cases was essential.

Chief executive Mary Taylor said: "The SFHA's Preventing Eviction and Alleviating Homelessness Guidance confirms quite clearly that eviction should only be used as a last resort, but nonetheless we maintain that the ability to evict is necessary as the ultimate and sparingly-used sanction in extreme cases."

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