Angus Council went to court almost 250 times last year in a bid to combat a rising rent arrears bill that now tops £2 million.
Since April 2018, the authority has launched 243 court actions against non-paying tenants – with orders approved in 130 cases.
However, councillors will be told on Tuesday that the ultimate sanction of evictions was applied just seven times over the last financial year as the arrears total continues to creep up.
The total arrears figure for current tenants at the end of March stood at £1.467m, representing 9.2% of total rent due, an increase from the £1.464m (8.3%) level at the end of December.
“Although this slight increase is disappointing, it is in line with the current climate affecting other authorities,” said communities director Stewart Ball.
“Efforts are ongoing to pursue outstanding monies and since April 2018, there have been over 30,931 actions taken including over 5,252 visits to tenants or ex tenants.
“Since April 2018, 243 court actions have been taken. There have also been 130 cases, where the council have been awarded a decree by the court in this period.”
The total figure is added to by £723,000 worth of former tenant arrears, a figure which has dropped from £894,000 at the end of December and was more than £1.3m in October last year.
Mr Ball’s communities committee report continues: “Since former tenants’ arrears were last reported, 64 tenancies have been abandoned and these tenancies had outstanding arrears of £74,088.
“This can make collection difficult e.g. no addresses to enable pursuit of arrears. Again, these cases can be nearing the final stages in the arrears recovery processes and tenants leaving prior to being evicted.
“There have also been 59 tenancies terminated with arrears of £18,812 where tenants were deceased.”
The eviction of the seven tenants left the authority with a bill in excess of £21,000
The issue of Universal Credit has been highlighted by Scots councils as an area of concern and the director’s report adds: “Divisions involved in collection of monies are monitoring this carefully.
“Members should be aware due to the fluctuations in income that tenants could be in and out of receipt of universal credit in different weeks. This will be difficult to monitor and report on separately.
“A snapshot of current cases shows an increase in arrears based on arrears balances. It should also be noted that there are 220 cases which are pending claims and the difference in arrears for these cases is £19,018.”