Homelessness charity Shelter Scotland has published research showing that it cost the public purse at least £28 million pounds to evict tenants from social homes in a single year.
The housing campaign group commissioned academics from the University of Liverpool to establish the true cost of evictions by councils and housing associations.
The study goes beyond the direct costs like legal fees, to get a more accurate cost of the 1,866 evictions by councils and housing associations in 2019-2020.
£28million is a conservative estimate but a significant proportion of this comes from the cost of providing homelessness services for those households who went on to present as homeless.
The cost of providing support for homeless households varies widely but the research has highlighted that the average total cost of evicting a single person with low support needs into homelessness, with a not unusual 9 month stay in temporary accommodation, is nearly £24,000.
Alison Watson (pictured), Director of Shelter Scotland, said:
“This important research shows that the use of eviction to manage rent arrears is not cost-effective.
“Instead it is a classic lose-lose situation with individuals and families facing harmful disruption and stress, all at excessive cost to the public purse.
“We must see an end to people being evicted into homelessness and we call on social landlords to follow best practice and find more progressive and effective answers to helping tenants manage rent arrears.”