Council defends policy on drug-use tenants

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COUNCIL tenants who are convicted of taking, or dealing drugs in their home do not automatically face eviction, it has been confirmed by Fife Council, reports MIKE DELANEY.

The local authority was responding to a complaint from one Glenrothes tenant who claimed that his flat was being invaded by strong smells from nearby properties where cannabis was being smoked.

The man, who did not wish to be named for safety reasons, said he was astonished at the inaction from the council over the situation.

He explained: “I live in a block of eight flats, six of which are council - I’m private let myself.

“I have been having problems with the smell of cannabis and there are at least five flats that have users - the smell is disgusting.

“I’ve been complaining to the council and police for months now, never getting anywhere.

“I got a visit from the council and the police and thought ‘here we go, something is getting done at last’, but no.

“My complaint was met by her (the council official involved) telling me I should move house.

“She then went onto say that I should fork out the money to fix up my property to stop the smells!”

“The police told me that they have visited all the flats and the council know that they are doing drugs and still their solution is for me to move house.

“The police told me to just keep ‘phoning them every time something happens, and to be fair they do come out most of the time.

“I don’t know how other people in Glenrothes feel, but I’m sick and tired of the council’s lack of support toward the local community.

“They favour druggies and drug dealers, whereas good hard-working people get nothing.”

The man also claimed that the fabric of the building itself and the cleaning of the common stair was poor, although it wasn’t helped by littering by some tenants and those who frequented their homes.

Fife Council service manager, Louise Sutherland, commented: “We take the issue of anti-social behaviour of any tenant seriously and will investigate any complaint thoroughly.

“If someone has been convicted of dealing drugs from their property, our established practice is to serve a notice of proceedings, and then take the tenant to court.

 “We can’t evict people -we have to make a case to the Sheriff that the tenancy agreement has been broken, and that it is reasonable to evict the tenant.

“While we have had a number of actions agreed by the Sheriff, it is not a foregone conclusion, especially if there has been a period of good behaviour between the notice and the case actually appearing in front of the Sheriff.”

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as they openly admitted it and still their solution is for me to move house.

“I don’t know how other people in Glenrothes feel, but I’m sick and tired of the council’s lack of support toward the local community.

“They favour druggies and drug dealers, whereas good hard-working people get nothing.”

The man added that the fabric of the building itself and the cleaning of the common stair where also poor, but he couldn’t afford to move.

Fife Council service manager, Louise

Service Manager Louise Sutherland commented: “We take the issue of anti-social behaviour of any tenant seriously and will investigate any complaint thoroughly.

“If someone has been convicted of dealing drugs from their property, our established practice is to serve a Notice of Proceedings, and then take the tenant to court.

 “We can’t evict people; we have to make a case to the Sheriff that the tenancy agreement has been broken, and that it is reasonable to evict the tenant.

“While we have had a number of actions agreed by the Sheriff, it is not a foregone conclusion, especially if there has been a period of good behaviour between the Notice and the case actually appearing in front of the Sheriff.”