Fri 29 May, 2020

Scotland could face a spike of evictions in July when eviction hearings for private rented sector tenants resumes, the Scottish Greens have warned.

The First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland is expected to resume the discussion of cases in July, when the Housing and Property Chamber is planning on restarting eviction hearings for private rented sector tenants online.

Additionally, unless the emergency legislation is extended, eviction notices issued during the emergency period will begin to have effect in October. At that point, if the courts have reopened, eviction orders can be issued. This includes eviction orders for rental arrears, even if those rental arrears resulted from a loss of income during the emergency period.

The warning comes after the Scottish Government rejected proposals from Scottish Greens housing spokesperson Andy Wightman to introduce protections for tenants in emergency legislation, including a ban on evictions based on rent arrears accrued during the pandemic, a tenant hardship fund, and a rent freeze.

Commenting, Andy Wightman said: “It’s clear that when hearings resume they are likely to face a backlog of cases of people being evicted from their homes. This could lead to a spike in the number of people being made homeless.

“Everybody should have access to a safe, secure home during this crisis. A spike in evictions, leading to an increase in homeless households, helps nobody – and it certainly does not protect the health of the Scottish public.

“Under Scottish Green proposals, nobody would have been evicted from their home as a result of missing rent payments during the crisis period. After the SNP sided with the Tories to reject them, tenants need assurances now from the Scottish Government about what will happen at the end of the emergency period.”

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