Ruth Maguire MSP has welcomed the extension of the Scottish Government’s temporary ban of eviction notices until the end of March.
The extended ban – will apply to all evictions in areas subject to level 3 or 4 restrictions, except cases of serious anti-social behaviour, including domestic abuse. Subject to review every three weeks to ensure it remains necessary to protect against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), it will remain in force until 31 March.
This will provide renters with safe homes during the pandemic. It will reduce the burden on local authorities, who have a duty to rehouse people made homeless through evictions, and will also make it easier for people to follow the guidelines during the current lockdown.
Regulations will be laid in the Scottish Parliament on 14 January to extend the current ban, which is in place at present until 22 January.
The SNP MSP for Cunninghame South said: “It’s right that tenants continue to be offered protection from eviction as we’ve entered a second lockdown.
“No tenant should be evicted because of financial hardship caused by the pandemic, extending the eviction ban will reduce any anxieties around their immediate circumstances and reduce the workload on our already stretched local authorities.”
Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart said: “Extending the temporary ban on the enforcement of eviction orders in the private and social rented sectors in areas subject to level 3 and 4 restrictions will support tenants, and offer people protection from transmission of the virus by being able to stay safe in their homes.
“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. This is a proportionate response to an extremely challenging set of circumstances.
“In the case of serious anti-social or criminal behaviour – including domestic abuse – eviction orders can still be enforced.
“We have been clear that no landlord should evict a tenant because they have suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic. Tenants in difficulty should engage with their landlord and seek advice on the options open to them.”
Other measures to protect renters in Scotland during coronavirus were taken in the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020.
These apply to all eviction notices issued on, or after, 7 April 2020. The original end date was 30 September 2020.
A number of actions have been taken to support tenants through the pandemic, including increasing the Discretionary Housing Fund from £11 million to £19 million to provide additional housing support and the introduction of the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund.