Sunday, 29 May 2016

SFHA blasts no bedroom tax evictions bill

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has criticised a proposed bill by a Labour MSP aimed at preventing bedroom tax evictions.

Labour MSP Jackie Bailles yesterday proposed amending the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 to provide a statutory guarantee of no evictions in Scotland for people who go into arrears as a result of the bedroom tax.

The SFHA however said it does not support Ms Bailles’ proposed bill as evictions are a ‘necessary’ sanction.

Mary Taylor, chief executive of the SFHA, said: ‘Evictions are only ever a last resort. However, rent arrears fundamentally threaten the financial position of housing associations.

‘Since associations are not for profit and charitable social businesses with a responsibility to a wide range of tenants, preventing landlords from evicting will ultimately effect more tenants than the ‘bedroom tax’.

‘Evictions are a sparingly used but necessary ultimate sanction.’

Ms Taylor stressed the SFHA has campaigned against the bedroom tax.

In a foreward to a consultation on the proposed bill Ms Bailles said: ‘In the relatively short time since [the bedroom tax] was introduced it has become increasingly clear that this policy disproportionately affects some of the most vulnerable groups in society.’

The consultation paper says the proposal would ‘not affect the law of debt in Scotland’.

It said: ‘The purpose of the bill is to provide Scottish secure tenants with unequivocal statutory protection that they would never be evicted because of the impact of the bedroom tax. The scope of this bill is therefore extremely narrow and focused.’

The consultation closed on 18 December

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