Although the majority of council tenants do pay their rent promptly, Merton Council believes it is not fair to allow the minority to evade payments.
Head of Housing Services, Paul Ryrie said: “Rent revenue is mainly used to look after the homes and to provide services to the tenants, so it is clearly unfair for some to pay for this maintenance and not others.
“For many people living in privately rented flats, a council home could be seen as highly desirable as they are secure, in good condition and rent is low.
“Normally, when rent is not paid, tenants are given an opportunity to pay off their arrears, and can usually arrange to do so through instalments.
“However, if these arrangements break down, the council has to take things further which can either lead to legal proceedings for eviction, or to the case being handed to a bailiff to remove goods from a tenant’s home.
“Sadly the Council has had to take both forms of action in an increasing number of cases in recent months.
“Last year, 47 of our tenants were evicted because of non-payment of rent and 106 cases passed to the bailiff for goods to be removed.
“When people are evicted, the normal procedure is not to re-house the person. Then tenants have to make their own housing arrangements.
“We are taking this tough line and tightening up our procedures action against ‘rent dodgers’ to make life fairer for all council tenants,” he said.
“The Council wants everyone to have a happy and secure 2003 and encourage prompt rent payment to avoid the need for this kind of action.
Press Contact: Georgina Hart 0208 545 3483