Landlords urged not to evict tenants
Published by Sarah Ashcroft
Landlords in Scotland have been urged to give tenants who are struggling to pay their rent because of the new 'bedroom tax' more time to come to terms with their financial situation. Dundee City Council is already showing mercy on people living in rented accommodation and housing minister Margaret Burgess has pleaded with landlords in the nation to do the same.
She has written to property owners across the country to encourage them to follow the council's example and not look to throw out tenants who are finding it hard to make up the shortfall caused by the extra tax imposed on those with more bedrooms than they require.
The Courier has told how the council is protecting tenants who can prove they have been left short as a direct result of the tax. It has vowed to use all measures available to it to collect rent, with the notable exception of eviction.
"We already have strong safeguards in place to ensure eviction is an absolute last resort. While we do not want to see tenants run up debts they cannot pay, it is important, in what will be challenging times, that extra consideration is given to people who are having housing benefit taken away," Ms Burgess explained.
She went on to note that other councils in Scotland are looking into a similar plan as that imposed by Dundee City Council. In some cases, tenants can avoid being penalised by the tax if they can successfully have the classification of a bedroom changed.
Westminster has decided to cut housing benefit for people who are deemed to have spare rooms from next month - a move that the Scottish government does not agree with. This could leave many tenants struggling to pay their rent or being forced to look for a smaller home.
In the meantime, patience should be shown by landlords and extra time given to those who are struggling, according to the housing minister.
Published on: March 22, 2013
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