In this June 2021 COVID update:
- The Scottish Government has extended most of the current coronavirus legislation relating to evictions, until 31st March 2022.
- Financial support will continue to be available for both landlords and tenants. The existing loan scheme for landlords will remain open and a new £10m grant fund is being introduced to support tenants.
June 2021 COVID update – evictions legislation
The Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Government on 24th June. This means that the legislation currently in place will continue until 31st March 2022. There is also provision for a further extension, to 30th September 2022. You can view the Bill here.
However, as previously, the Government has committed to periodically review the regulations. A review will now be carried out every two months, and any measures no longer necessary will be removed.
Summary of updated evictions legislation
- All evictions continue to be at the discretion of the First Tier Tribunal.
- Landlords must work with tenants who are having difficulty in paying rent, to manage arrears as far as reasonably possible.
- Eviction on the grounds of rent arrears should remain a last resort.
- Landlords are still required to give longer notice periods when ending a tenancy.
- There is no longer a ban on enforcing eviction orders. This only applies during national lockdown or to areas under Level 3 and Level 4 restrictions. All areas of Scotland are currently at Level 2 or lower.
Please get in touch with us if you need any further information, or if you need assistance in working with your tenants to manage their rent arrears.
Rental sector government loan schemes extended
The Scottish Government has confirmed that the Private Rent Sector Landlord (non-business) COVID-19 Loan Scheme and the current Tenant Hardship Loan Fund will continue to receive applications. They have also announced a new £10m grant fund to support tenants.
Both existing schemes offer interest-free loans, and further information and online application can be found on the Scottish Government website.
Tenant Hardship Loan Fund
There are currently no changes to these repayable loans. They can be used to cover a maximum of nine months’ rent costs, covering rent arrears and future rent, where those arrears have arisen since 1 January 2020 (the loan will not be available where a tenant had rent arrears before this date). The loan can include up to a maximum of three months of future rent payments as part of the nine-month total.
New £10m grant fund for tenants
This new tenant support fund has just been announced, and the Scottish Government is now working to finalise the details with the Scottish Association of Landlords and other stakeholders from the private and social rented sectors.
The grant is expected to be available later in 2021 and will support tenants who have fallen into rent arrears as a direct result of the pandemic.
Other support available for tenants
Other non-repayable financial support may also be available to tenants, so it is important to consider all options before applying for the Tenant hardship Loan. Options may include Universal Credit, Discretionary Housing Payments, or the Scottish Welfare Fund. Free advice is available from organisations including Citizen’s Advice Scotland and Shelter Scotland.
Private Rent Sector Landlord COVID-19 Loan Scheme
There are currently no changes to this scheme. Repayable loans offer eligible landlords up to 100% of lost rental income for up to three properties. The scheme aims to support private sector landlords who are not classified as businesses, have five or fewer properties to rent and have lost rental income due to tenants being unable to pay rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are here to support you
We are here to support all our landlords and tenants, so please get in touch with us should you have any concerns. We’ve all survived two national lockdowns and tight Covid restrictions, and while these have eased, we understand that many people may still be in a difficult position. If you’re facing financial difficulties or poor mental health, then please seek advice as soon as possible.