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Written evidence on homelessness and rent arrears

Scottish Parliament Local Government and Communities Communities Committee

Though not the only driver of homelessness, the past five years have seen a large increase in the number of rent arrears issues dealt with by Scotland’s CAB network. CAS is commencing research to examine the causes and consequences of rent arrears for CAB clients, including those who become homeless as a result. This submission examines CAB data related to homelessness and rent arrears, as well as some of the causes of rent arrears that can lead to evictions and homelessness.


  • The past five years have seen an increase in the amount of advice provided on issues related to homelessness in Scotland’s CAB network

  • The increase may be connected to an increase in eviction actions for rent arrears, particularly in the social rented sector

  • Issues related to rent arrears have been some of the fastest growing areas of advice, increasing by over 40% since 2012

  • Recent research for CAS has shown that tenants in the social and private rented sectors find it harder to manage financially, worry more about being evicted and are more likely to have to borrow money to pay the rent

  • Clients who sought advice in connection with a rent arrears issue were more likely to be unemployed, in part time work, single adults, lone parents, aged 25-44, and living in the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland, compared to other CAB clients as a whole, and to the population at large

  • Rent arrears is part of a complex set of difficulties and is either a result of a variety of other issues and/or creates a variety of other issues that the client needs help with, including homelessness

  • In a number of cases the arrears have arisen from issues associated with changes to the social security system.

  • Unpredictable and fluctuating employment arrangements have also caused rent arrears for clients.
Rob Gowans
Publication date
June 2017
Publication type
Number of pages