Extended Notice Periods and discretionary grounds to remain

Temporary eviction measures in Scotland that were introduced in April 2020, have now been extended to 31 March 2022, with the potential to be extended until 30 September 2022.

Coronavirus Scotland Act

Passed on 24 June, The Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill will now continue the majority of measures introduced by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 and Coronavirus (No.2) (Scotland) Act 2020, both of which were due to expire in September 2021.

The legislation contains a provision for the Scottish Government to continue reporting to Parliament every two months the effectiveness of the measures and those found to be no longer necessary can be removed prior to the expiry date.

View the Coronavirus Extension and Expiry Scotland Bill  →

What this means for the PRS

The extended Notice Periods that tenants are afforded remain in place and it will either be six months, three months or 28 days depending on the ground being used.

All grounds for possession will remain discretionary, this includes the Section 33 notice, and it will be for the members of the first-tier tribunal to decide whether to grant an eviction order or not.

Pre-action requirements before an eviction on the grounds of rent arrears remain in place. Letting agents and landlords must ensure they continue engaging with tenants and that eviction on this ground is a very last resort.

Tenant grant funding

The Scottish Government has acknowledged that the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund has not been the success it envisaged, and they have now introduced a £10m grant fund to support tenants who have fallen into rent arrears as a direct result of the pandemic. The grants will be available later in 2021.

Although the detail has yet to be revealed, the Scottish Government can be lauded for the additional direct financial support to be made available to tenants, however it is disappointing there was no recognition or additional support for the many landlords and their agents who have, and are, still working through the challenges of the pandemic.

With the success of the vaccine programme meaning restrictions are easing and in conjunction with the empirical data of the private rented sector in front of them, the Scottish Government must urgently review the temporary measures and ensure those that are no longer required are removed.
Daryl McIntosh Policy Manager | Propertymark