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Call for landlords to follow Dundee City Council’s ‘bedroom tax’ example

Call for landlords to follow Dundee City Council’s ‘bedroom tax’ example

Scotland’s housing minister is calling on landlords to follow Dundee City Council’s example and not evict tenants struggling to pay rent due to the bedroom tax.

Landlords should consider all possible options and use all reasonable means to prevent evictions, housing minister Margaret Burgess has said.

She has now also written to landlords across Scotland to encourage them to consider the example of Dundee City Council, which is protecting tenants who genuinely cannot make up the shortfall.

The council has committed that, where the director of housing is satisfied that affected tenants are doing all that can be reasonably expected to avoid falling into arrears, they will use all legitimate means to collect rent due, except eviction.

Despite opposition from the Scottish Government, the UK Government policy that will cut housing benefit for those deemed to have a spare room comes into force next month.

Mrs Burgess said: “I have now written to landlords to encourage them to look sympathetically on tenants affected.

“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.

“Dundee City Council has taken innovative action on this, clarifying that, where tenants are doing all that can be reasonably expected in order to avoid falling into arrears, they will use all legitimate means to collect rent due, except eviction.

“I know other councils are also working towards a similar position and I hope landlords across Scotland can follow this example. There are also circumstances where a bedroom’s classification may be changed and tenants not penalised.

“Again, I would encourage landlords to consider this possibility.”

The Scottish Government has already made extra funding available to help provide advice and support for those who will lose out.

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