HM Insights

Stay At Home: what the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill means for tenants facing eviction

The impact of COVID-19 on the residential letting markets (both private and social) has already been pronounced. Most Registered Social Landlords have temporarily halted debt recovery and eviction cases, and the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) has effectively closed.

Now, the Scottish Government is debating new emergency legislation which will, among other things, provides statutory comfort for tenants facing homelessness during the crisis. Here are some headline points from the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill:

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Social rented sector

In relation to Scottish Secure Tenancies, the earliest date that proceedings can be brought is proposed to be changed as follows:-

  • 4 weeks if only paragraph 5 of Schedule 2;
  • 3 months if paragraph 2, 6, 7 and/or 8 of Schedule 2;
  • 6 months if paragraph 1, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 14 and/or 15 of Schedule 2.

In relation to Short Scottish Secure Tenancies, the notice period to be given to tenants as follows:-

  • 6 months, if recovery under section 36 and tenancy was given under paragraphs 3-7A of Schedule 6;
  • 2 months, if recovery under section 36 and tenancy was given under section 35 or paragraphs 1, 2 or 2A of Schedule 6;
  • if proceeding under section 14, same timescales as for Scottish Secure Tenancies.

Private rented sector

The biggest takeaway from the proposed legislation is that, so long as it remains in force, there will be no such thing as a mandatory ground for eviction. All actions for eviction (including recovery of properties let under Short Assured Tenancies and those where there are significant rent arrears) will now be determined based on whether it is reasonable to grant eviction in the circumstances.

In addition, the notice periods that require to be given to tenants will change as follows:-

Private Residential Tenancies – Notice to Leave

  • 28 days if Ground 10;
  • 3 months if Grounds 4, 5, 13, 14, 15, 16 and/or 17;
  • 6 months if Grounds 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and/or 18.

Assured Tenancies

  • 2 months if Ground 9;
  • 3 months if Ground 1 or 15;
  • 6 months if Grounds 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16 and/or 17.

Short Assured Tenancies

  • 6 months for notice under section 33(1)(d).

Regulated Tenancies

  • 4 weeks, if the tenant gives notice or there is other alternative accommodation available;
  • 3 months, if Case 2, 6, 8, 9 and/or 11;
  • 6 months, if Case 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and/or 21.

Get in touch

If you wish to discuss any aspect of a residential tenancy that you are involved in, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team. We would be delighted to assist you.

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