Call for housing laws to protect victims


​Problems exist around joint tenancies 

27th January 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A leading housing body has called on MSPs to create legislation to better protect victims of domestic abuse.

In response to a parliamentary petition, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) states that one of the main challenges facing social landlords is how to manage situations where both a victim and perpetrator of domestic abuse are named on the tenancy agreement.

It is currently not possible to end a joint tenancy without making both the victim and the perpetrator homeless.

CIH Scotland recommends the committee considers what legislative steps are needed to fairly end joint tenancies as per the recommendation from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group in 2018.

As part of their response CIH Scotland notes there is more that social landlords could do within the existing policy framework and asks the committee to explore how existing housing management practice could be enhanced by social landlords to improve protections for victims of domestic abuse.

Callum Chomczuk, CIH Scotland national director,  said: “Victims of abuse need housing like we all do, and the sector has a responsibility to do the right thing, but landlords need support to make sure that they’re offering a consistently good response to those affected by domestic abuse.

“Otherwise the consequence is that victims are often asked to leave their home time and again and at times, are made homeless by the very services that are meant to support them.

“It is encouraging that a recent Scottish Government report called for “clear policies on domestic abuse and ensuring that experience of abuse or violence does not lead to someone losing their tenancy”. We need to ensure that policy reflects the reality for victims and allows social landlords to end a joint tenancy without making victims homeless.”