07 Apr 2020

New tenant protection comes into force

New tenant protection comes into force

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.

Private Residential Tenancies

The notice period depends on the ground being used, as detailed below:

  • Ground 1 – landlord selling – 6 months
  • Ground 4 – landlord moving in – 3 months
  • Ground 5 – landlord’s family member moving in – 3 months
  • Ground 10 – tenant not occupying property – 28 days
  • Ground 11 – breach of tenancy terms – 6 months
  • Ground 12 – tenant has owed some rent for 3 months – 6 months
  • Ground 13 – criminal behaviour – 3 months
  • Ground 14 – anti-social behaviour – 3 months
  • Ground 15 – association with person with criminal conviction/engaged in anti-social behaviour – 3 months
  • Ground 16 – landlord has been refused registration or had registration revoked – 3 months
  • Ground 17 – landlord’s HMO licence has been revoked – 3 months
  • All other grounds – 6 months

An amended version of the Notice to Leave should be issued for the time the Act is in force. 

Assured/Short Assured Tenancies

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:

  • Ground 1 – required as or previously used as landlord’s principal home – 3 months
  • Ground 8 – 3 months’ rent arrears – 6 months
  • Ground 9 – suitable alternative accommodation available – 2 months
  • Ground 11 – persistent delay in paying rent – 6 months
  • Ground 12 – some rent unpaid – 6 months
  • Ground 13 – breach of tenancy terms – 6 months
  • Ground 15 – anti-social behaviour – 3 months
  • All other grounds – 6 months

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