RENT arrears owed by people living in council houses in Kirklees have dropped to their lowest level for many years.
The figure owed by present tenants now stands at £2.5m - a fall of £1m since April.
Persistent non-payers are being threatened with eviction as a get-tough policy is stepped up.
Principal housing manager Roy Ibbotson said: "We are continuing to take a firm line with those tenants who refuse to pay and have evicted 144 tenants so far this year.
"This approach will continue until all tenants realise that you have to pay to stay."
The number of cases taken to court this year is about 50% higher than last year.
Mr Ibbotson said: "There is no doubt that recent campaigns to encourage tenants to pay have been successful and they will continue.
"We are keen to reward responsible tenants who pay their rent on time and will continue to hold cash draws and other incentives."
The first tenant out of the hat in a draw for a Christmas hampers lost out because he had arrears of £18, Mr Ibbotson added.
The news on money owed by former tenants is not so good. Their debts stand at £3.63m.
Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing, which manages council homes, is asking all tenants with arrears to make contact as soon as possible to discuss the best way of clearing them.
Mr Ibbotson said all cases would be dealt with sympathetically.
But a firm line - including the threat of eviction - would be taken where there was no contact, he said.