Scottish government warned over probationary tenancies

By agency reporter
25 Apr 2013

Shelter Scotland has led a coalition of Scottish charities in criticising proposals by the Scottish Government to put all new social housing tenants on ‘probation’.

A letter to Scotland’s Housing and Welfare Minister, Margaret Burgess MSP, warns that probationary or ‘introductory’ tenancies are an attack on hard-won tenants’ rights, unfairly stigmatise all council and housing association tenants and could ultimately destabilise Scotland’s social housing sector.

The proposals are unnecessary and discriminatory and would in effect penalise the majority of social tenants for the bad behaviour of a small minority.

Shelter Scotland says it will campaign vigorously to defend tenants’ rights to security of tenure, which were only secured as recently as 1980.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “People need to feel safe and secure in their home - not have the threat of eviction hanging round their neck. At the start of a new tenancy, people need support not suspicion and penalties.

"Introducing probationary tenancies would be a big step backwards in tenants’ rights. It is totally unnecessary as social landlords already have a range of tools at their disposal - backed by legislation - to deal with anti-social and criminal behaviour if it occurs.”

He added: “At a time when some UK politicians have sought to stigmatise social housing tenants as scroungers and welfare cuts threaten families’ ability to keep their home, Scotland’s politicians have the opportunity to strike a different tone.

“We believe it is a mistake to follow the lead of English landlords or mirror Westminster’s language of division. We are calling on Scottish Ministers to reject probationary tenancies which simply penalise all new tenants for the behaviour of a small minority.

“Everyone needs a secure affordable home and we will campaign vigorously to defend the rights of all of Scotland’s 595,000 households living in social housing.”

Charities in the coalition that signed the letter are: Shelter Scotland, Oxfam Scotland, Barnardo’s, Child Poverty Action Group, Children in Scotland, Glasgow Homeless Network, Glasgow West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations, Homeless Action Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, Scottish Churches Housing Action, Scottish Drugs Forum, and The Poverty Alliance.

Read the letter here: http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/654640/Letter...

[Ekk/4]

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