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Scotland proposes notice to leave period for students

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Additional emergency measures in Scotland have been introduced to Parliament to form the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Bill to protect people facing financial hardship including the introduction of notice to leave periods for students in purpose-built student accommodation and halls of residence.

The new Bill follows emergency legislation previously passed by the Scottish and UK Parliaments to assist in the response to the pandemic.

A key element for the property sector within the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Bill is the introduction of a 28-day notice period for new agreements entered into by students. This will ensure that students entering into new accommodation contracts for the next academic year, but are then unable to take up the accommodation as planned due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, will be able to give notice and not held liable for accommodation they are not using for the full contract term.

If passed, the Bill will also offer additional protections for those facing bankruptcy by raising to £10,000 the minimum debt level that an individual must owe before a creditor can make them bankrupt and also raise the upper threshold for the availability of the minimal asset process (MAP) to £25,000, meaning more people who find themselves in debt will be able to avoid a costly and lengthy bankruptcy process.

There are also recommended legislative changes in areas including:
• non-domestic rates relief
• proceeds of crime and the wider operation of Scotland’s criminal justice system

The proposed timing of when the Bill will reach the final Parliamentary Stage 3 is in the afternoon of Wednesday 20 May.

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The Scottish Government is determined to do all we can to help individuals and businesses who are facing hardship as a result of this unprecedented crisis.

The Bill will help many people facing bankruptcy, adding to emergency measures which the Scottish Parliament has already approved.

It will also provide Scottish Ministers with the power to introduce reductions in non-domestic rates payable during 2020-2021, and a wide range of changes necessary to support public services to continue to operate as they were intended during what are exceptional circumstances.

Throughout this crisis, we have tried to achieve consensus and will continue to work on a cross-party basis to enable the government to take the steps necessary to help Scotland get through these extraordinary times.

Constitutional Secretary Michael Russell

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