Private landlords to be banned from evicting tenants for six months
The Scottish Government is planning to impose a six-month ban on evictions of tenants in private rented accommodation.
Ministers will outlaw evictions for everyone living in properties rented privately or social housing due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said they will use emergency powers granted under the Coronavirus Bill to prevent people from losing their homes.
The Scottish Government previously said it would challenge any landlord in the social housing sector planning to evict tenants, as well as extending the period during which people cannot be evicted for rent arrears.
The Accountant in Bankruptcy agency has also suspended evictions for those involved in bankruptcy proceedings.
Earlier, the UK Government banned all evictions in England and Wales.
In the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, Scottish Labour MSP Pauline McNeill asked the minister to guarantee legislation would be in place to protect all types of tenants during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Ms Campbell said: “There should be no eviction as a result of Covid-19.
“Our emergency legislation will have provisions to ensure there will be no evictions from the private rented sector or the social rented sector for six months.”
She said the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations had confirmed no tenant would be evicted due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie raised the issue with Nicola Sturgeon as the First Minister updated MSPs on the pandemic.
He said his colleagues had heard on a daily basis from tenants who were being served with notices to quit by landlords.
The First Minister replied: “Nobody should be evicted from their home as a result of this crisis and I will make that clear at every opportunity.
“We’ve already indicated a legislative change we will make to expand the three month period for which people can’t be evicted for rent arrears to six months.
“We will continue to look at how we give people additional security over and above that.”
Living Rent, a group which represents tenants in Scotland, welcomed the extra protection for those in the private rented sector.
Spokesman David Hanson said: “This is a brilliant win for tenants up and down Scotland.
“It was always an absurd prospect that tenants could be threatened with eviction during a global pandemic and this announcement from the Scottish Government is extremely welcome.”
He added: “It is now crucial that we also ensure that tenants are not driven into enormous debts over the course of the pandemic.
“When workplaces shut their doors, tenants who were already struggling to make ends meet simply will not be able to pay their rent.
“The Government must, as a matter of urgency, guarantee these people the protections we need and have these rents written off. “