Evictions down in Scotland

Evictions by social landlords across Scotland have continued to decrease and the numbers of tenants in arrears is down over the last year, according to new analysis by Shelter Scotland.

In total, there were 1,918 evictions in 2010/ 2011 - 13% fewer than the previous year - bringing the total cut in evictions to 46% since Shelter Scotland started publishing its annual analysis four years ago.

There were 1,157 evictions by local authorities and 761 by Registered Social Landlords [RSLs]. Of the 26 local authority landlords, only 2 (two) showed a significant increase in evictions.

The analysis also shows further good progress on arrears - the number of tenants in arrears actually fell by 1% while the total amount of rent arrears rose slightly by 6%. Significantly, several social landlords saw a reduction in both evictions and arrears – dispelling the myth that reducing evictions leads inevitably to an increase in arrears.

Shelter Scotland is currently working successfully with social landlords such as Glasgow Housing Association and Stirling Council on practical solutions to further reduce arrears and evictions. It singled out East Lothian Council for praise for achieving a 50% reduction in evictions and 15% reduction in total rent arrears during 2010/11.

However, the housing and homelessness charity says it is disturbed by the rise in evictions last year by East Ayrshire and Fife councils – which it says indicates a change in policy and backward step.

Shelter Scotland, which provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties, says, overall, the figures are very encouraging, especially given the challenging financial climate.

It also warned those landlords with increased eviction levels that they needed to do better and could learn from the successful best practice of other councils.

If you are facing houseing difficulties, and need advice and support, visit scotland.shelter.org.uk or call 0808 800 4444.