01
Apr
Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill was passed on 1st April 2020 and received Royal Assent on 6th April 2020. This means that the changes to eviction procedures set out in the Act are now in force until 30 September 2020.  However there is provision in the legislation for the end date to be changed.  Claire Mullen, Associate with TC Young Solicitors has put together the key points for you below.

Private Residential Tenancies

Increased Notice Periods

The bill increases the notice period for the Private Residential Tenancy. The current notice period is either 28 or 84 days depending on either the duration of the tenant’s occupation or the ground relied upon.

The bill extends the notice period to 6 months for all grounds with the exception of the tenant not occupying the let property which will remain 28 days: and 3 months for:

  • landlord intends to live in the let property
  • a member of the landlord’s family intends to live in the let property
  • the tenant has a relevant conviction
  • the tenant has engaged in relevant anti-social behaviour
  • the tenant associates in the let property with a person who has a relevant conviction or   has engaged in relevant anti-social behaviour
  • the landlord is not registered by the relevant local authority under the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004
  • the let property or associated living accommodation is in multiple occupation and not licensed under Part 5 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006

Removal of mandatory eviction in all cases

All grounds will be discretionary whereby the Tribunal will require to consider the reasonableness of eviction irrespective of the ground relied upon. This means landlords will require to satisfy the Tribunal that eviction is reasonable in all eviction actions calling before the Tribunal while this legislation remains in force whether notice was served before or after commencement of these provisions. This will likely mean that the tribunal will take into account, amongst other things, how the corona virus outbreak has affected the personal circumstances of both the tenant and the landlord.

Assured and Short Assured Tenancies

Increased Notice Periods

The Notice Period for service of the AT6 has been extended from either 2 weeks or 2 months to 6 months in all cases with the exception of :

  • 2 months if the notice specifies only Ground 9 in Part II of Schedule 5 to this Act (tenant will be given alternative suitable accommodation),
  • 3 months if the notice specifies any of the following grounds:  Ground 1 (landlord intends to occupy the property), Ground 15(the tenant has engaged in anti-social behaviour or been convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment),

The Notice Period for service of the ‘no fault’ section 33 notice has been extended from 2 months to 6 months.  Accordingly, the landlord must now give 6 months’ notice that he requires possession of the property.

Removal of mandatory eviction in all cases

All grounds will be discretionary whereby the Tribunal will require to consider the reasonableness of eviction irrespective of the ground relied upon. This means landlords will require to satisfy the Tribunal that eviction is reasonable in all eviction actions calling before the Tribunal while this legislation remains in force whether notice was served before or after commencement of these provisions.

What is the practical reality of these provisions?

The bill does not amend the prescribed notices.  Instead the notices are to be read and completed so as to give effect to the changes.

The Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service (SCTS) has postponed all eviction actions through the First-tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber until June at the earliest. When business does resume, SCTS will likely prioritise fixing hearings for postponed cases. This means any new cases are unlikely to be heard for some considerable time and the effect of the extended notice period will result in further delays.

We will of course update you as soon as we can if further information becomes available or there is a change to the information above.


TC Young logo

We would like to thank TC Young solicitors for their assistance in compiling this information.

If you would like to be added to the TC Young mailing list, to receive information directly from them on a range of services they offer, please email: [email protected]

 

Read other posts