Over 400 evictions in North Lanarkshire by social landlords
6 January 2009
Hundreds of people in North Lanarkshire lost their house as a result of eviction action last year. (1)
That is the worrying finding from a new report by Shelter Scotland, the leading housing and homelessness charity, "Evictions by social landlords in Scotland".
In 2007/08 410 tenants lost their homes due to eviction action by North Lanarkshire Council- that's equivalent to 12.6% of the Council's lettings for the year. The Scottish average eviction rate was 7.8%.
Of the 410, 168 were evicted and 242 abandoned the property after the Court awarded an eviction order against them. (2)
North Lanarkshire- the biggest local authority landlord in Scotland- has reduced the number of evictions and abandonments from 535 in 2001/02 to 410 in 2007/08.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: "While North Lanarkshire are making progress in reducing eviction numbers, the findings from this report are still very concerning.
"Being forced to leave your home should only be used as a last resort and we urge the council to explore all other options before evicting. We are committed to working with social landlords to dramatically reduce evictions.
"Repossession of homeowners has been a justifiable concern and one that politicians north and south of the border have been right to focus on. We have campaigned for better protection for homeowners because each repossession is an individual and social tragedy.
"The plight of all families threatened with homelessness, whether the tenant of a social landlord or the owner of a property, must be at the forefront of politicians' minds in 2009 and beyond, if Scotland's 2012 homelessness target (3) is to mean anything".
Shelter is calling on all residents in North Lanarkshire to act to prevent needless evictions. Please join our Hometime Scotland: Time up for Evictions campiagn by emailing your local councillor via www.hometimescotland.org.uk (4).
Our report shows that across Scotland, social landlords are evicting twice as many people as are being repossessed for mortgage default.
The report also shows that almost 3,600 tenants of social landlords (council and housing association) were evicted last year, almost all of them for rent arrears- that's almost ten a day.
Notes to Editors:
(1) To view the report and for information on eviction rates across Scotland, please refer to Table 6 in Shelter Scotland's policy paper 'Evictions by social landlords in Scotland', at www.shelter.org.uk/eviction
(2) The statistics in the report record both actual evictions carried out by Sheriff Officers and homes abandoned after a court order was granted against the tenant.
(3) 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.
(4) The Time Up for Evictions campaign is part of our Hometime Scotland campaign, which aims to ensure the 2012 homelessness target is at the top of the political agenda. See www.hometimescotland.org.uk for more information.
(5) Shelter believes everyone should have a home and helps 170,000 people a year fight for their rights, get back on their feet, and find and keep a home. We also tackle the root causes of Britain's housing crisis by campaigning for new laws, policies and solutions.
(6) Spokespeople are available for interview; telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line number is available for broadcast interviews.
(7) For more information about Shelter, visit www.shelter.org.uk