Busy year for Hjaltland Housing Association

Two tenants were served with eviction notices from Hjaltland Housing Association homes in the year 2013/14 for not paying rent, according to the association’s annual report published this week.

Chief executive Bryan Leask said eviction was the “last resort” and would only be done after a lot of work with outreach workers who would try to sort out payment. Eviction notices had to be granted by the sheriff, and tenants would then be classed as “homeless” and could apply to the council for housing.

Bad debts totalled nearly £50,000 at the end of the financial year.

At that time the association had 668 applicants registered, with more than half of them requiring a one-bedroom property. Around a quarter of applicants requested a two-bedroom property, with fewer applicants wanting anything larger.

During the year 22 new houses were built, eight at Ladies Mire in Brae and 14 at Strand, Tingwall, and 69 new ones were on site.

These comprised 26 at Strand, Tingwall and a total of 43 in Lerwick – 17 at Excelsior Place and 26 at Burnbank and Hill Grind. Most of these units are now occupied, with work continuing on Burnbank and Hill Grind.

Mr Leask said it had been a busy year, and the level of housebuilding was what was needed. According to the local housing strategy, between 50 and 70 “units” were required every year to satisfy local demand.

Two new sites are about to be developed in Lerwick – the old SIC offices in Fort Road will have 12 units and there will also be 14 in Pegasus Place.

During the year there were 69 complaints from tenants, mostly about anti-social behaviour. Almost 80 per cent of these were resolved with help from the police and the council’s anti-social behaviour team.

Hjaltland completed a total of 1,748 repairs during the year, with an average spend of £344 per property.

Mr Leask said the scheme to install more efficient storage heating was nearly complete, with tenants being “very happy” with the new system.


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