West Dunbartonshire councillors have agreed to “write off” more than £200,000 of rent arrears from tenancies that ended in 2022.

During a most recent housing and communities committee meeting, members agreed to “write off” 30 cases totalling £209,257.69.

It comes following a council meeting in December 2016 where councillors agreed that individual debts, exceeding £5000 can be written off with the approval of committee.

In 2022/23 the council’s total rent that was due to be collected was £45.4 million – of which approximately 98.5% was collected.

At the meeting, councillor Karen Murray Conaghan said: “I am noting from the papers that we have a 98.5% collection rate.

“In terms of the uncollected debt that is owed just now – is that debt that we are actively pursuing because I do know there is authority for officers to write off debt up to the £1000 mark.

“If it goes beyond that – it comes to committee. I know it’s a really difficult thing."

Peter Barry, chief officer of housing and employability, confirmed that the council was still pursuing that debt.

Mr Barry said: “It is a difficult area of work. Most of the debt has been collected but there will inevitably be areas where we can’t follow up.

“We are also very mindful that we do not give up on these issues.

“I want to give a message to all tenants that just as we have an absolute duty to provide the best possible housing and the best possible circumstances for families to thrive, we expect our tenants to look after their properties.

“They need to pay their rent – that’s the bottom line.”