Homelessness could rise in overcrowding crackdown

A crackdown on overcrowded housing has led to fears that homelessness may rise in Scotland. Picture: Robert Perry
A crackdown on overcrowded housing has led to fears that homelessness may rise in Scotland. Picture: Robert Perry
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Homelessness levels in Scotland could rise as part of a Government drive to crack down on overcrowded houses, charities and housing chiefs have warned.

The concerns have been prompted over the introduction of Overcrowding Statutory Notices (OSN) aimed at guarding against unacceptable living conditions in many private sector homes in Scotland.

A consultation on the issue has resulted in calls for safeguards to be put in place by landlords and councils to prevent a rise in people being left on the street.

Shelter Scotland warns: “The service of an overcrowding statutory notice is highly likely to lead to homelessness.”

It is calling for councils to ensure that an OSN is accompanied by a housing options interview to guard against evicted people being left with nowhere to stay.

And disability charity Capability Scotland warned: “These notices are highly likely to lead to homelessness making it essential that procedures are put in place to ensure that when the notices are served occupiers are given the advice, information and support they need to consider their full housing options and make a homelessness application where necessary.”

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations says that a tenant with too many family members living with them could decide to ask adult members to leave.

“If those adults leaving were vulnerable or had very little choice to exercise in other housing options, they could become homeless,” it adds.

But local authorities, including Glasgow, Moray and South Lanrkshire all say that councils are likely to be closely involved int he process to help find alternative accomodation when needed, and the risk of homelessness is “minimal.”