Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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

Readers' comments (7)

  • BlokeWithAConscience

    The Bedroom Tax is such a poor piece of legislation that it might be the most sensible thing to avoid resulting evictions that could lead to expensive law suits when the Bedroom Tax is abolished. SFHA needs to step up its Bedroom Tax campaign.

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  • YES THIS BEDROOM TAX IS A DISGRACE . I HAVE NOW FOUND ,NO SMALLER PROPERTIES ,SO I CAN DOWN SIZE . AND NOW HAVE A REPOSSESSION ORDER ISSUED ON MY HOME ,WHICH I RAISED MY 3 CHILDREN IN AND HAVE LIVED IN FOR 25 ,YEARS. AS A SECURE TENANT , DOES THIS MEAN NOTHING .I FOUGHT FOR MY COUNTRY .BUT THIS MEANS NOTHING TO THIS GOVERNMENT. BUT WHAT CAN I DO ?????? ANY SUGGESTIONS .AT MY MINDS END.

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  • I am VERY confused with this SFHA stance on this. This Bill includes funding of £50m which would protect councils and housing associations.

    A no eviction policy without funding would endanger Housing Associations. A No Eviction policy with sufficient funding will protect Housing Associations.

    As I said, very confused at SFHA stance on this Bill. Maybe they didn't read the whole proposals before responding?

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  • http://no2bedroomtax.co.uk/2013/09/bedroom-mitigation-bill-scottish-parliament/

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  • hello Glen, I am sorry to hear of your distress. try not panic too much, a possession order is not the same as an order for eviction which your landlord must obtain from the Courts so you have time to sort this , I am assuming your plight is related to arrears. apply immediately for discretionary housing benefit (if you have not done so already). show them a copy of the possession order. start paying something on the arrears even if it just a quid a week, this shows both landlord and court services you are taking this matter seriously. ask your landlord to write off your arrears..they do this every year for their bad debts; usually tenants who have abandoned their property. above all make sure you turn up for every court date, I can't stress how important this is. consider getting legal help to see whether there are grounds to have the courts set aside the order againt yr home. good luck.

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  • The extra funding given to local authorities for descretionary housing benefit payments is so often mentioned in these discussions.It is not often mentioned that LA s are reluctant to make these payments and from my experience usually only make payments as a stop gap whilst s tenant looks for alternative accomodation. If an applicant does not state that they are looking for somewhere else payments are not usually made. These "funds" are a smokescreen and are no sokution to keeping people in their family homes. It would be interesting to know how much of these extra funds are actually soent snd on what?

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  • Daniel Sweeney

    It will be interesting to see if the Scottish Judiciary are willing to assert their independance and refuse to issue Eviction orders. Didnt they do something similar in relation to the poll tax?

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