Landlords in the Scottish private rented sector will be prevented from evicting their tenants over the festive period, the Scottish Government has announced.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020, introduced at the beginning of the pandemic to protect tenants from evictions, applies to all notices issued on or after 7th April 2020. Originally intended to be effective till 30th September 2020, the emergency law was then extended until 31st March 2021, with some changes to notice periods.

Tougher eviction laws

However, the Scottish Governments has decided to introduce new stricter regulations which will prevent eviction orders being brought between 11th December 2020 and 22nd January 2021, with the exception of cases where serious antisocial behaviour is concerned.

This move is intended to give extra protection to tenants during the Coronavirus crisis and reduce the burden on local authorities, whose duty is to rehouse people made homeless through evictions, explained Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart. It is also aimed at making it easier for people to self-isolate if they choose to form extended bubbles over Christmas, when the relaxation of restrictions is taking place.

Mr Stewart said: “We took early action to, in effect, halt eviction action until March 2021 due to the pandemic. We have supported tenants throughout this difficult period through a number of actions including increasing our Discretionary Housing Fund from £11 million to £19m to provide additional housing support and shortly we will introduce our Tenant Hardship Loan Fund.

“We are now taking this additional, temporary step after carefully assessing the unique housing situation created by the pandemic.

“A temporary ban on carrying out evictions will give additional peace of mind to tenants over Christmas and into the new year. It will also prevent additional burdens being placed on health and housing services, during a time where they are already working hard due to the impact of the pandemic.

“It will allow tenants who are facing eviction, and may decide to take the opportunity to form extended bubbles over the festive period in line with relaxed guidance, time to effectively self-isolate afterwards should they come into contact with a positive person.

“Where there is evidence of serious anti-social or criminal behaviour, including in cases of domestic abuse, evictions can still proceed as normal.”