Nearly half of tenants now ‘in rent arrears’

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North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) has pledged that no tenant in rent arrears solely because of the bedroom tax will be evicted this financial year.

However the policy decision comes at the same time as a TUC-backed report claiming nearly half of tenants in both North and South Lanarkshire Council areas (46 per cent and 45 per cent respectively) are now in rent debt.

It also argues many are already relying on emergency aid.

NLC says tenants in difficulty must contact the council to discuss their situation, and fill in applications for any funding that might help them - for example discretionary housing payments.

It adds that any tenant who was already in arrears before April will be dealt with as normal and will have to come to a suitable arrangement with the council about those arrears.

Councillor Jim Smith, NLC depute leader, said: “No council in Scotland is doing as much as we are to combat the effects of this horrendous UK Government legislation.

“We have already allocated the maximum amount possible to top up the discretionary housing payment fund, and in total we have invested more than £6 million to help alleviate the worst of the pressure but we have to act within the law.”

He added: “We have written several times to people affected to offer help and support, and nearly 3000 tenants have taken up that offer.”