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Scotland is set to extend for a further six months the protection given to tenants against eviction during the coronavirus pandemic.
This will be among the effects of the Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill introduced by the Scottish Government this week.
It will extend, until 31 March 2022, emergency measures that had been due to expire on 30 September this year. ‘An example of a change that will be extended is a protection against eviction for people who rent their homes’, said the Government.
The Bill will also allow for the possibility of a further extension of emergency measures until September 2022, this to be triggered by secondary legislation which effectively requires committee review only.
The letting agents’ association Propertymark has launched a campaign against the planned extension of current measures, asking its members to write to Scottish MPs.
‘The Scottish Government must not underestimate the level of engagement letting agents and landlords have provided in offering crucial support to tenants during the pandemic. Before rushing through unnecessary regulations, that ultimately may prove detrimental to the PRS, the Scottish Government must fully engage with all of those operating in it’, it said.
Meanwhile the Welsh Government has extended the requirement that in most circumstances landlords give tenants six months’ notice before ending their tenancies. Current regulations had been due to expire on 30 June, but the requirement will now run on until 30 September 2021.
The effect will to be to delay evictions meaning that fewer people will face eviction into homelessness at a time when local authorities are less able to respond to these situations, said the Government.
‘The decision to extend the relevant period has been taken at relatively short notice in response to a situation that is still rapidly evolving, and in the light of continuing uncertainties surrounding the impact of new variants of the virus.
‘There is an urgent need to ensure that the relevant period is extended beyond the 30 June. The number of people under immediate threat of eviction from their homes must be kept low, in order to continue to contribute to the range of measures in place that respond to the continuing effects of the pandemic’.