Propertymark has expressed dismay after the temporary eviction measures in Scotland were extended to 31 March 2022, with the potential to be extended until 30 September 2022.
Passed last week, The Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill will now continue the majority of measures introduced by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 and Coronavirus (No.2) (Scotland) Act 2020, both of which were due to expire in September 2021.
The legislation contains a provision for the Scottish government to review the effectiveness of the measures every two months, those measures found to be no longer necessary can be removed prior to the expiry date.
The extended Notice Periods that tenants are afforded remain in place; six months, three months or 28 days depending on the grounds being used.
All grounds for possession will remain discretionary, this includes the Section 33 notice, and it will be for the members of the first-tier tribunal to decide whether to grant an eviction order or not.
Pre-action requirements before an eviction on the grounds of rent arrears remain in place. Letting agents and landlords must ensure they continue engaging with tenants and that eviction on this ground is a very last resort.
Daryl McIntosh, policy manager for Propertymark, said: “We are disappointed the Bill was rushed through without proper consultation.
“The Scottish government have to review the measures every two months and Propertymark will continue to provide case studies and evidence which highlight agents and landlords’ experiences in the sector, with a view to redressing the balance.”
Although the detail has yet to be revealed The Scottish government have introduced a £10m grant fund to support tenants who have fallen into rent arrears as a direct result of the pandemic. Propertymark believes that this could be an acknowledgment that the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund has not been the success envisaged. The grants will be available later in 2021.