13 Apr 2020
New rules which give tenants greater protection from eviction during the Covid-19 crisis have come into force.
The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act has now received Royal Ascent, bringing about immediate changes to the eviction procedure.
Initially these changes will apply from 6 April 2020 until 30 September 2020 but there is provision in the legislation for the end date to be changed.
During the period detailed above all evictions will be discretionary, which means that if the tenant doesn’t voluntarily vacate and the landlord has to apply for an eviction order at the tribunal, the tribunal may decide to exercise a reasonableness test in deciding whether to evict the tenant or not.
In simple terms, this means that the tribunal will decide based on the circumstances of the case whether the tenant’s need/right to occupy the property is outweighed by the landlord’s need/right to repossess the property.
The legislation also makes changes to the notice period that the landlord is required to give the tenant. The notice period depends on the type of tenancy and the eviction ground being used.
Members should also be aware that the Housing and Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal that deals with eviction cases, will not be hearing cases until at least 28 May but this could be much longer.
The notice period depends on the ground being used, as detailed below:
An amended version of the Notice to Leave should be issued for the time the Act is in force.
Ending a short assured tenancy using a notice to quit and section 33 notice now requires six months’ notice.
However, ending an assured/short assured tenancy using an AT6 notice requires varying notice periods, namely:
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