A petition has been raised with the Scottish Parliament calling for protection for tenants who may face eviction due to the new Bedroom Tax.
The petition, by Mike Dailly of the Govan Law Centre (GLC) calls on the Scottish Government to take action in order to ensure that people who are unable to pay the new tax are not forced out of their homes.
The tax is part of the Westminster Government’s welfare reform bill and will see tenants in the social housing sector lose up to £22 per week from benefits if their home contains an unused bedroom.
Critics have claimed the tax is worse than the old poll tax and that its implementation could see those on low incomes unable to pay their rent.
According to the GLC website:
The Department of Work and Pensions estimate 660,000 claimants will be affected across the UK, and the Chartered Institute of Housing in Scotland suggest as many as 95,000 tenants could be affected in Scotland.
When it comes to Scottish rent arrears eviction actions in sheriff courts, often the success or failure of a tenant in preventing eviction will turn on a few pounds per week, for example the standard payment for arrears direct is £3.55 per week.
Accordingly, the prospect of £12 to £22 per week being deducted from rent payments under the bedroom tax from next April means Scotland’s law centres and advice sector will be unable to defend many eviction cases in practice.
According to the GLC, a minor amendment to section 16 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 (as follows) which would prevent ‘bedroom tax rent arrears’ being used to establish a reason for eviction.