Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) Bill 2021 published

Due to the on-going threat that Covid poses to public health in Scotland, the Deputy First Minister announced in the Scottish Parliament on 9 June that the government intended to bring forward legislation to carry forward some provisions of its Coronavirus Acts beyond the current expiry date of 30 September. Draft legislation has now been published for this purpose.

The Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) Bill amends the expiry date of the Scottish Coronavirus Acts to 31 March 2022, a six-months extension.  It will also enable the Acts to be extended again, should this be needed to respond further to the pandemic, to 30 September 2022. For the rented sector, that means a continuance of all current emergency provisions – extended notice periods, Tribunal discretion and private landlord pre-action protocols – until at least 31 March 2022. 

That Bill has now been published and can be seen online here.

The bill will be debated and is expected to be approved by MSPs this week before parliament goes into recess on Friday. SAL is disappointed that the current provisions have been extended to continue to delay landlords evicting tenants without any recognition of the good work that has been done between landlords and tenants to avoid eviction action even being considered.

John Blackwood, Chief Executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, said: “We are urging the Scottish Government to recognise the excellent and supportive work done by landlords over the past 15 months and to look at the facts of the current situation which show a 53% reduction in eviction applications in the private rented sector. Landlords are clear that it is in their best interests to be as flexible as possible in order to sustain tenancies and avoid eviction action being taken. From our analysis of rent arrears eviction cases, it is evident that the existing eviction rules requiring landlords to give 6 months’  notice have sadly made matters worse for tenants who have accumulated rent arrears that they will struggle to pay off in the future.  ”

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