Call for a winter eviction ban for private tenants

Not enough has been done to protect private tenants

Over 200 private tenants have been evicted from their homes since the courts reopened following lockdown. The courts have a backlog of hundreds of eviction cases. We believe nobody should be forced to leave their home during this pandemic, especially during the coldest months of the year. Join our call for a genuine eviction ban this winter!

Throughout this crisis, the Scottish Government has repeatedly said that no landlord should evict their tenant if they are struggling to pay their rent because of coronavirus. But since the housing tribunal re-opened in July, 100 private rented sector tenants have now been evicted from their homes.

The Scottish Government has repeatedly failed to provide adequate support for tenants. It created a landlord loan fund months before announcing a tenant hardship fund, the details of which are still to be published. It has brought forward pre-action requirements for landlords despite evidence from Shelter Scotland that these do little to reduce eviction numbers in the social rented sector. It has expanded funding for Discretionary Housing Payments – but many tenants will not be eligible. It has made grounds for eviction discretionary – but most tenants are unaware of their right to challenge evictions and do not show up to tribunal hearings to tell their side of the story.

Finally, it repeatedly called its extension of eviction notice periods an ‘eviction ban’, leading to confusion. There is no eviction ban in Scotland. Tenants who received a notice to leave prior to the emergency legislation passing in April can be issued an eviction order by the courts. Tenants who were given a notice to leave after the emergency legislation came into force (7 April 2020) can stay  in their homes, but can still be evicted once their time is up – even if they are struggling, vulnerable or in the midst of a surge in coronavirus cases.

Since July, the private rented sector tribunal has evicted over 200 people from their homes. Many of these people were already in vulnerable situations: people who were shielding, pregnant, new parents, or who had lost their jobs due to coronavirus. If they cannot find new homes – and many are struggling to find alternative accommodation – they will need to present to their local council as homeless, at a time when council housing services are under more pressure than ever. 

As we head into winter and the threat of a second surge, we must prevent any more people losing their homes.

Support our call for a winter eviction ban

In many other European countries, tenants are protected from eviction during winter. The French winter eviction ban has lasted for over 7 decades and was extended during coronavirus. Under a genuine eviction ban, no tenant can be forced to leave their home during the coldest months of the year. 

Furlough is ending. Rents are at historically high levels. We are in an economic recession. We are still living through a global pandemic. This winter will be hard – let’s not make it even harder by allowing hundreds more evictions in the private rented sector.

We are calling for an eviction ban that runs until 31st March. Join us in calling for no evictions this winter!

Email the Minister for Housing to Stop Winter Evictions

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