Following an award of the first Wrongful Termination Order earlier this month, the Scottish Labour Party is calling on the government to increase protection for private tenants from unfair evictions.
According to Labour, the recent case before the First-tier Tribunal in which the tenant was evicted on wrongful grounds, has exposed inadequate tenant’s protection under the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) regime. The standard of proof required for termination of a tenancy has been set too low for landlords to meet, leaving tenants vulnerable to eviction, claims the party.
Calls for amendments to the emergency measures
Therefore, Labour’s spokesperson, Pauline McNeill, urges the Scottish Government to review the current regulations to prevent wrongful evictions by imposing a duty on private landlords to provide proper, more substantial evidence supporting their decision to terminate a tenancy.
Ms McNeill says: “We simply cannot have landlords evicting people on unfair grounds in the middle of a pandemic.
“The time has come for the Scottish Government to listen to the voices of tenants and act to keep them safe.”
In a letter to Housing Minister Kevin Stewart, Ms McNeill writes: “I’m writing to you today to request that you revisit this issue and raise the standard of proof to be met for granting evictions from PRTs and other private sector tenancies. That can be done easily by retaining some of the emergency measures introduced to help counter COVID-19, especially the requirement for landlords to prove eviction is reasonable in the circumstances.
“Unless the Scottish Government can commit to secure and longer-term funding for housing and money advice, the services will not have the capacity to train and retain workers with the expertise and experience required.
“The fallout from the COVID-19 crisis means that, when periods for furlough and mortgage payment holidays come to an end along with business closures and redundancies, will mean that more people than ever will need the support of these essential services.”