Evictions from social housing ‘cost councils nearly £28m’

A study commissioned by Shelter Scotland found 1866 homes were reclaimed between 2019 and 2020.

Evictions from social housing ‘cost councils nearly £28m’ iStock

Evictions from social housing cost councils almost £28m between 2019 and 2020, new research has estimated.

A study by Liverpool University, commissioned by homelessness charity Shelter Scotland, attempted to find the total cost of evictions, including the cost to councils for providing services to people made homeless and time spent in temporary accommodation.

The research claimed £22,264,288 was spent on evictions directly, while £5,584,644 was paid indirectly – although a report from the researchers claims the latter figure is a “conservative assessment”.

In total, 1866 homes were reclaimed during this year.

The cost is down from £30,648,662 in 2018-19, the researchers claimed.

Shelter Scotland director, Alison Watson, said: “This important research shows that the use of eviction to manage rent arrears is not cost-effective.

“Instead, it is a classic lose-lose situation with individuals and families facing harmful disruption and stress, all at excessive cost to the public purse.

“We must see an end to people being evicted into homelessness and we call on social landlords to follow best practice and find more progressive and effective answers to helping tenants manage rent arrears.”

Researchers also found that 805 households evicted from social housing in 2019-20 went on to present themselves as homeless to local authorities, a drop from the six-year high of 890 from the year before.

A spokesman for local authority body Cosla said: “Local authorities work with tenants to prevent evictions and provide support so that they can stay in their homes.

“If any tenant has concerns that they may be at risk of eviction, we would encourage them to speak to their housing officer and seek advice and support as quickly as they can.

“Enabling people to sustain their tenancies is important, for them, for their families, and to maintain their important community connections.”

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