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Scotland's Tenants Need A #WinterBreak

winterbreak3.pngLiving Rent, Scotland’s tenants’ union, is launching a campaign to stop winter evictions. A #WinterBreak would suspend all evictions between November and March to prevent deaths amongst the homeless population. This means no person with a legal tenancy agreement, in a mortgaged home or in sheltered accommodation can be evicted during the winter months.

Since 1956, France has had a winter break protecting residents from eviction from the 1st November to the 31st March. Winter deaths are an avoidable situation. This means no person with a legal tenancy agreement, in a mortgaged home or in sheltered accommodation can be evicted during the winter months.

You can help change the law here by signing the petition. A winter break would require amendments of primary legislation for social housing and private housing. Living Rent will be campaigning on Buchanan Street on Saturday 16th December collecting signatures for the petition.  

You can make this law a reality by simply:

    1. Contacting your MSP.
    2. Signing the petition.
    3. Joining Living Rent.

Living Rent has already helped push through new legislation that greatly improves a tenant’s security, in the form of the new Private Residential Tenancy. We can change the law again.

Evictions are the single leading cause of homelessness. Being homeless is dangerous enough without the added danger of low temperatures and inclement weather. Shelter estimates that up to 5,000 people sleep rough every year on Scotland’s streets. A Winter Break would help reduce the number of rough sleepers throughout the country. No one should be on the streets in winter let alone thrown out into dangerous conditions. Housing is a human right, not a commodity.

In Scotland, the average temperature is just over 3 degrees Celsius. Hypothermia can occur at 10 degrees Celsius in normal conditions and in the rain it can be as high as 15 degrees Celsius. Rough sleepers are especially vulnerable during the winter period.

A winter break would give people time to find a solution or apply for assistance. Suspending evictions during the winter months would decrease the temporary housing bill and increase the time to implement preventative measures. In Scotland, temporary housing amounted to a £750m bill over the last 5 years and has increased significantly in Scotland’s Central Belt. A winter break would ensure public funds are directed to services that prevent homelessness rather than footing the bill of temporary accommodation.

A Winter Break is just the start. The chronic shortage of housing and poor conditions of current homes must be addressed. Living Rent, as Scotland’s tenants’ union, campaigns for homes for people not for profit. You can join the Union and ensure everyone has decent, affordable housing.

Read our briefing on the winter break here.

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