Evicting the anti-social

AN ATTACK on Angus Council by the housing charity Shelter seems to have badly backfired.

Shelter slammed the local authority for having conducted 31 evictions from its municipal housing in 2010/11, and said that over the past four years there had been an increase of 121 per cent from 2007/08’s 14, compared with a national reduction of 46 per cent.

But Angus Council’s housing spokesman, Councillor Jim Millar, says eviction is always the last resort, and that rent arrears are far from the only reason for eviction.

He explained: “We will not hesitate to evict when anti-social behaviour warrants it, as was the case twice last year when we ended the tenancies of convicted drug dealers, as well as other legal measures we take where tenants wilfully choose to make the lives of their neighbours and communities a misery. Our tenants tell us they support our action.

“This is a very disappointing attack on Angus Council by Shelter. The handwringing, simplistic outlook ... often bears no relation to challenges that local authorities face in providing homes, often for very vulnerable people; and, helping to build safe and sustainable communities.”

“We have exhaustive processes in place to try and work with tenants, either to address their rent arrears, or address their behaviour.”

He continued: “We are very mindful of our responsibilities as social landlords and only resort to eviction for rent arrears when every other avenue has been exhausted. The very low level of evictions in Angus is evidence of this – they fell by nine per cent last year to 31, making us 10th lowest in mainland Scotland.”

“I would be a lot more interested in what Shelter has to say if they used the considerable sums they spend on lawyers and publicity to build and maintain social homes themselves instead of criticising others who do.”

“I am proud of our record on housing, which will see 147 new council houses built in Angus, on top of the homes we are funding for other affordable tenures. What have Shelter built?”