A Braidwood man is living in fear that he is about to lose his home following threats made by his landlord, Clydesdale Housing Association.
Alexander Jackson, 32, claims that he is being hounded out of his Nellfield Lane home despite having kept in regular touch with his housing officer over his temporary financial difficulties.
His problems started after he alleges the DWP provided incorrect advice while he was receiving Universal Credit to supplement his zero hours contract job.
This resulted in an expected rent contribution from them not being paid.
It meant he then fell behind with his rent. However Alexander says he immediately contacted Clydesdale Housing Association to advise them and they gave him the impression they understood and would support him until the situation was resolved. Furthermore, a repayment plan was put in place to pay off the underpaid amount.
Soon after he had to leave his job on medical advice. However there was a dispute with his former employer which resulted in him not receiving his final salary. In turn that left Alexander with no income to pay bills, including rent.
Now he has received a letter telling him court proceedings are being instigated for eviction.
Alexander told us: “This situation has caused me considerable stress and anxiety. But Clydesdale Housing Association do not seem interested. All I get is the same mantra about breaking my contract with them. I thought that social landlords which are charitable bodies would be more understanding but that has not been my experience.”
The housing Associations website clearly states, “We are a Scottish Charity, we put people first - we listen and learn from customers and use that learning to improve the work we do.” Alexander disputes that statement claiming that they simply have not listened and have been anything but charitable toward him.
We contacted the Housing Association who refused to discuss Alexander’s situation with us, but did provide a statement: “Clydesdale Housing Association (CHA) does not comment on the individual circumstances of its clients publicly.
“In an ideal world, all tenants would pay their rent when required to do so. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, there are those who because of their personal circumstances are unable to pay the correct amount when due. There are also a small minority of those who choose not to pay.
“Our Housing Officers monitor tenants’ rent accounts regularly to ensure early identification of those having difficulty. We contact tenants in who appear to be having problems at an early stage, before the level of debt becomes too high – our emphasis is always on helping tenants acknowledge and address their money problems.
“We encourage our tenants to contact us as soon as they experience difficulties in being able to afford making rent payments. Our Housing Officers will work with tenants to check entitlement to Housing Benefit/Universal Credit, provide advice and assistance with form-filling and online account management. We can also arrange meetings with a Money Advisor who will help to organise the repayment of rent arrears and any other debts tenants may have. The Money Advisor will also provide Benefit entitlement advice.
“We have arrangements in place with South Lanarkshire Council’s Money Matters Service and Clydesdale Citizens Advice to offer qualified advice to tenants. Clydesdale Citizens Advice also provide outreach services in local communities.
“Although we offer this support, we work in a way that expects tenants to take responsibility for paying their rent and managing their finances. Tenants who repeatedly fail to pay their rent or do not work with us to address these issues can face legal action that can put their tenancy at risk.