More than 60,000 complaints about pests in local authority housing

Local Authorities in Scotland have dealt with more than 60,000 complaints about pests in local authority housing in the last three years. 

The figures were obtained by the Liberal Democrats using Freedom of Information showed councils across Scotland reported the following number of complaints:

  • 2016 – 22,236
  • 2017 – 17,567
  • 2018 – 21,365

Therefore, over the past three years a total of 61,168 complaints were received. 

Tenants complained about issues with a range of pests, including woodlice, seagulls, bats wasps, beetles, cockroaches, mice, rats, moths, squirrels, flees, spider beetles, slaters, birds, silverfish, foxes, pigeons and slugs.

Liberal Democrat housing spokeswoman Caron Lindsay said: “Although in some cases the presence of pests is unavoidable, the scale on which local authority tenants are reporting bed bugs, wasps, mice and other animals in their houses is staggering.

“It is completely unacceptable to house people in buildings that have cockroaches or other unhygienic infestations. Imagine how awful it must be to feel that you can't let your baby play on the floor in case they pick up mouse droppings or some other nasty.

“Every person deserves a clean and comfortable home. Poor quality housing can take a huge toll on people’s mental and physical health. If the SNP hadn’t been slashing local authority budgets for years they would be better placed to provide that.

“The Scottish Government should use these statistics as yet another reason to get on with building more social housing and ensuring councils have the resources to fix poor housing before it falls into disrepair.”

Elena Whitham, community well-being spokeswoman for the local government body Cosla, said: "Every home in Scotland will experience unwanted guests/pests on occasion. 

"Scottish Councils spend a significant sum every year maintaining around 314,000 homes in urban and rural areas across the country. 

"All local authorities will seek to remedy any issues arising from housing reports from tenants as quickly as possible." 

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: "We expect local authorities and registered social landlords to ensure their homes are kept in a good state of repair and are otherwise fit for human habitation. Local authorities can provide advice and assistance, and have powers under environmental protection legislation to tackle nuisances. 

"The Scottish Government's target of delivering at least 50,000 affordable homes, including 35,000 for social rent, is on track to be delivered over this Parliament. 

"The 2019-20 Scottish Budget also provides local government with an additional £298.5m revenue funding, a real terms increase of 1.2% for day-to-day services."

REHIS is a registered charity in Scotland, SC009406

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