New early warning system for repossession and eviction must be a top priority
1 April 2009
A new early warning system to help prevent people becoming homeless because of repossession or eviction will only work if it is made a top priority by landlords, creditors and local authorities.
Shelter Scotland, the leading housing and homelessness charity, welcomed the new system , which comes into effect today (Wednesday), and urged everyone involved in housing to make it work.
Section 11 will mean landlords and creditors must inform the relevant local authorities when they raise proceedings for possession of a property or serve certain notices relating to a mortgage.
Its aim is to ensure local authorities are given early warning of households who may be at risk of becoming homeless. Preventing homelessness is a top priority, particularly in light of Scotland’s internationally acclaimed legislation to give everyone a home by 2012. 
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: 'Recent figures showing a rise in the number of people applying as homeless because of mortgage default or rent arrears  make Section 11 even more important.
'Unfortunately this situation is expected to get worse and everyone involved in housing in Scotland must ensure this early warning system works for the sake of households who face being made homeless during this crisis and beyond. Early advice for those facing repossession or eviction is a valuable key to preventing homelessness,' he said.
He added: 'As a charity which works to prevent homelessness and work with those who have found themselves without a home, we have a vested interest in making sure this system works. To this end we have produced a briefing on implementing the new scheme. .'
Notes to editors
- Read the Shelter briefing.
- Section 11 was brought about through the Homelessness (Scotland) Act 2003. It comes into effect on April 1. Find out more about Section 11.
- By 2012 all unintentionally homeless people should have access to a permanent home, under Scottish legislation. Currently, only people designated to be in 'priority need' – generally families with children – have the right to permanent homes. All others have access to only temporary accommodation and support. By 2012, there will be no distinction and everyone will have the right to a home.
- New figures published in March by the Scottish Government showed that from April to September 2007, a total of 330 households gave mortgage arrears as their main reason for a homelessness application, compared with 392 households in April to September 2008. For the same period in 2007, 1004 renters (across all tenures i.e. local authority, housing association and privately rented) gave arrears as their reason for applying as homeless, compared to 1098 in April to September 2008.