22 April 2013
At last week’s Scrutiny Committee in response to a question asked about the rent arrears increasing from 8.6% to 9.9%, we received the following response from a Senior Officer of the Council.
"Councillors were advised that the monetary value was £1.5million which is equivalent to 4% of the current rent of each household in Dundee.
"Councillors were also advised that Council were pursuing legal action against some individual tenants in pursuit of the arrears and in some cases were advised enough that they were seeking eviction."
If rent arrears continue to grow then, repairs will not be carried out on Council properties.
The SNP administration, this year, delivered a 5% increase in rents, again way above inflation, refusing to accept the Labour group’s amendment that would have delivered a lesser increase and employment opportunities for Housing Officers.
I don’t expect that the SNP administration will re-visit the Labour group’s proposals in its entirety.
However they should consider the Department’s need in dealing with the growing problem of rent arrears.
It may have been useful to have accepted the Labour group’s proposals and had these Council Officers knocking doors and collecting rent.
Welfare Reform will continue to exacerbate the situation as household budgets are squeezed.
The Bedroom Tax will bring a further squeeze on the household budgets of over 3,000 in Dundee.
The SNP in Dundee say they have a “No Eviction” policy in relation to the Bedroom Tax but I would remind people to read the small print.
The SNP should revisit their policy as it is likely to continue to burden those who pay their rent diligently as rent would likely continue to increase to cover non -collection.
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