Improved protection for social tenants

A new law will make it harder for tenants in the social housing sector with rent arrears to be evicted.

Under amendments to the Housing Scotland Act (2010), social landlords will be required to undertake a series of actions before they can refer a tenant to court for eviction action.

Tenants must be offered housing benefits advice and landlords must take proactive steps to put in place a reasonable payment plan.

The legislation will also give tenants a final opportunity to reach an agreement with their landlord on rental arrear repayments after a court eviction order has been granted.

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, Alex Neil, commented: “This Government is committed to ensuring that social housing tenants have access to the information and advice they require to live in a peaceful and secure environment.

“In 2010/11, only 12 per cent of the 14,600 cases taken to court by social landlords for eviction action resulted in tenant eviction, which is a huge drain on public resources.

“Social tenants are required to meet the obligations in their tenancy agreement - including paying their rent.

“From now, all social landlords will be required to follow a consistent set of practices before they can evict tenants who fall behind on their rental payments.”