East Renfrewshire Council has taken action to protect tenants who fear they could be evicted if they fall behind with their rent.

A ban on evictions will remain in place until further notice, amid concerns over the impact the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is having on the finances of many local tenants.

The Scottish Government had banned landlords, including councils, from carrying out evictions during the coronavirus crisis but that ended on May 17, as lockdown restrictions were eased.

Councillor Danny Devlin, who represents Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor as an independent, responded by proposing that a ban should remain in place in East Renfrewshire.

This has now been approved by housing chiefs.

Councillor Devlin said: “It makes sense to wait until the end of the pandemic before making any decision over people’s rent arrears.

“This will prevent families being thrown out on to the street at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.”

The move has also been welcomed by Barrhead housing campaigner Sean Clerkin, who has urged other councils to follow suit.

He said: “I commend East Renfrewshire Council for this really important move in extending the eviction ban on rent arrears to the end of the pandemic.

“Their example should be followed by all landlords in the private and public sector.

“Tenants, particularly those on low income jobs or zero-hour contacts, have seen their income plummet in the last 15 months.

“As a result, thousands have ended up in poverty and subsequently fallen behind with their rent.”

Mr Clerkin had previously demanded that the Scottish Government extend its eviction ban until 2023 or until the pandemic is declared over.

Along with fellow members of the Scottish Tenants Organisation, he staged a banner protest at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh last month in support of the proposal.

They also held a further demo outside the First Minister’s official residence, Bute House.

A council spokesperson said: “Throughout the pandemic, our focus was on supporting our 3,000 council tenants who found themselves in financial difficulties.

“There are currently no immediate plans to resume evictions for rent arrears.

“We are committed to continuing our support of tenants in the coming months to assist them in sustaining their tenancies.”