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Temporary halt to evictions in Scotland

Friday 04 December 2020

Enforcement of evictions from rented properties will be halted in Scotland for a six-week period from 11 December, with the exception of serious anti-social and criminal behaviour and domestic violence.

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister announced that – given the relaxation of rules with regards to the mixing of households over the festive period and the potential that this could lead to people needing to self-isolate safely, at home – the Scottish Government will take forward regulations to introduce a ban on the enforcement of eviction orders across the private and social rented sectors.

It is a temporary action in direct response to the continued need to protect public health during the pandemic. The regulations are being finalised and there will be some exceptions, for example, the most serious circumstances, such as illegal occupation, antisocial or criminal behaviour and domestic abuse, these types of eviction cases can still proceed as normal.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 is an emergency law to protect renters in Scotland during Coronavirus and applies to all eviction notices issued on or after 7 April 2020. The original end date was 30 September 2020, but the Scottish Parliament has extended the law until 31 March 2021 with some changes to notice periods. 

The Scottish Government has supported tenants throughout the pandemic through a number of actions including increasing the Discretionary Housing Fund from £11 million to £19 million to provide additional housing support and shortly a Tenant Hardship Loan Fund will be introduced shortly.

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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 afterward should they come into contact with a positive person.

Kevin Stewart, Housing Minister

The announcement