16 Apr 2020
Carly Stewart, a Senior Associate at Aberdein Considine, looks at what new legislation governing tenancies means for Scotland's landlords.
In our recent article we looked at some of the consequences for landlords under the Scottish government’s coronavirus legislation.
It is important to note that the new, longer, periods of notice for evictions only apply to notices served after the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 came in to force on 7 April 2020.
But what if you served an eviction notice on a tenant before that date?
Separate to the legislation, the Housing and Property Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal is operating with very limited staff and will not accept any new applications unless it can be shown that it is “urgent and time critical”.
If a landlord has served an eviction notice, regardless of whether it is a Notice to Quit in an assured tenancy or short assured tenancy, or a Notice to Leave in a Private Residential Tenancy, the rule is the same: an eviction application must be lodged with the tribunal within 6 months of the lease end date in the notice.
We would always advise lodging an eviction application with the tribunal as soon as possible after the lease termination date. However, a standard eviction application is unlikely to be regarded as “urgent and time critical” in the present climate. We presume that as the six-month time limit for lodging an application approaches, the eviction application would then be regarded as “urgent and time critical” and the tribunal would be persuaded to accept it.
But what if there are any problems? One of the reasons we advise lodging an eviction application as early as possible is that the tribunal will reject any application if there is any defect in a Notice to Leave or Notice to Quit, for example, even if there is a one-day mistake in the notice period.
The tribunal’s website also reminds applicants “If the application is not lodged in the prescribed manner, it is held to be made on the date that the Tribunal receives the last of any outstanding documents necessary to meet the required manner of lodgement (Rule 5(3) HPC Procedure Rules).”
In other words, the tribunal are unlikely to accept eviction applications until they are “urgent and time critical” ie. close to expiring. But if there is any problem with either the eviction application or the original eviction notice, then there is a real risk that the landlord will lose the right to rely on the original eviction notice. In that case, the landlord will have to start the who process over again with a new eviction notice. If the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act is still in force, the longer notice period of six months in most cases, will apply.
If any landlords or letting agents, have any queries about existing eviction notices or the new procedures, feel free to contact one of our team.