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Council backs arrear eviction ban

26 June 09 14:08 GMT

Stirling Council has become the first local authority in Scotland to ban the practice of evicting tenants who fall behind in rent payments.

A motion, which called the evictions "draconian", was backed by councillors at a meeting on Thursday evening.

The move came after figures showed the authority had evicted 23 such tenants in 2008.

Homeless charity Shelter Scotland has urged other councils to follow Stirling's lead.

The motion was raised by the council's housing convener Alasdair MacPherson and his SNP colleague Jim Thomson.

Mr MacPherson said: "This Council evicted 23 tenants for rent arrears last year, in some cases families with children were involved.

"Evictions of this sort are draconian and like warrant sales, which were banned in 2000, this practice needs to be confined to the history books."

'Devastating impact'

The motion to ban the evictions was passed by a vote of 17 for and four against.

Mr MacPherson added that the ban would not become a "cheats' charter" and said a yearly review would be conducted to assess its effect.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said he was "delighted" by the move.

He added: "Our recent research into evictions by councils and housing associations demonstrated the importance of avoiding eviction and the devastating impact it can have on families.

"Almost 3,600 tenants across Scotland were evicted by social landlords over 2007/2008 - that is almost 10 people a day.

"We hope that other local authorities and housing associations will follow Stirling's lead."

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