Sturgeon: New law will prevent tenants being evicted during Covid-19 outbreak

No one will be evicted from their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, Scotland’s First Minister vowed as she announced plans for new emergency legislation.

The Scottish Government will seek to pass a Bill next week which will increase the notice period landlords must give tenants before eviction to up to six months depending on circumstance.

Currently, private sector landlords must provide notice of between 28-84 days.

The majority of measures in the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill will automatically expire after six months but may be extended by the Scottish Parliament for two further periods of six months.

The Bill will also make “adjustments to criminal procedure and to other aspects of the justice system”, the Scottish Government said.

Speaking at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon said the legislation will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday with plans to pass it through Holyrood by Wednesday.

She said: “Among a number of other things, that legislation will ensure that no-one can be evicted from their home during this crisis.

“It will increase to six months in most cases the minimum period of notice a landlord must give to a tenant before eviction.

“The legislation will apply to tenants in both the private sector and the social housing sector and will provide all tenants with additional security at what is an immensely difficult time.

“We expect to publish the emergency legislation and introduce it to Parliament on Tuesday and Parliament will then have the opportunity to consider it on Wednesday.”

Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said: “While all tenants experiencing issues with rent arrears should firstly explain their circumstances to their landlords, this new emergency legislation will provide an important backstop to prevent evictions and relieve the financial pressure people may be facing.

“We are also encouraging all landlords to be as flexible as possible during this unprecedented time and would urge them to also seek assistance if necessary by speaking to their lenders about mortgage breaks.”

He added that the measures “will be strictly limited to the duration of the outbreak”.

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