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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Housing associations excluding homeless tenants

This news post is almost 7 years old

Demanding rent in advance is at odds with the ethos and role of social landlords and stops homeless people getting accommodation, says law centre

Some housing associations are preventing homeless people accesse their right to a home by asking for rent in advance, a legal charity has warned.

According to the Govan Law Centre (GLC) it is now common place in Glasgow for a homeless person (legally entitled to an offer of a permanent tenancy from a housing association) to be told they will only be granted a lease if they pay the first month's rent up-front.

This, says the charity, is an insurmountable barrier for many homeless people, who are either in receipt of benefits or on low wages, both of which are paid in arrears, and trying to cope with the mental and physical stress of homelessness.

GLC believes that this policy by some registered social landlords undermines the Scottish Government's strategies to prevent homelessness in Scotland.

GLC believes that demanding advance rent from homeless households is at odds with the ethos and role of social landlords

The policy also demonstrates a failure by some housing associations to properly consider the needs of vulnerable people it says.

GLC's prevention of homelessness senior manager, Alasdair Sharp, said: "It is standard practice in the private rented sector for one month's rent to be required in advance, but Scottish housing associations receive significant public subsidy, enjoy charitable status and numerous statutory powers.

"The reason for this, is the Scottish Government and parliament recognise the fundamental need for social housing in Scotland, and that it has a different role to play than the private sector.

“Social landlords enjoy a privileged position to ensure that the most vulnerable and less advantaged in our society are treated justly and fairly.”

The Scottish Government should use issue statutory guidance under the Housing Act to clarify that it is not acceptable to require an advance payment of rent as a condition of a person being accommodated as a homeless person, said Sharp.

“GLC believes that demanding advance rent from homeless households is at odds with the ethos and role of social landlords,” he said.

“More worryingly, it undermines prevention of homelessness and financial inclusion strategies in Scotland.”



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Aidan Tyrrell
almost 7 years ago
We dont have a financial inclusion strategy in Scotland