At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a big push by the Scottish Government to make sure everyone in the country had a roof over their heads. The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 changed the law in Scotland to make sure tenants wouldn’t be asked to leave their home unexpectedly. Landlords had to give tenants more time to leave their homes and it also became more difficult for a landlord to evict a tenant.
Now that Scotland is moving away from coronavirus restrictions, the law has changed again and some of the protections that were in place during the pandemic have been removed.
The law changed on 30 March 2022 and the new law applies to all tenants who are asked to leave their home after this date.
Here is what the new law says about different kinds of tenancies:
Private Residential Tenancies
A private residential tenancy is any tenancy in the private rented sector that started after 1 December 2017.
Under coronavirus rules, the notice period a landlord had to give to ask a tenant to leave was extended to 6 months for many tenants. This has now changed back to pre-coronavirus notice periods. A landlord can now ask a tenant to leave in 28 or 84 days. The number of days will depend on how long the tenant has lived in the property and the reason why the landlord is asking them to leave.
After this notice period runs out, a landlord still needs to apply to have a tenant evicted if they have not left the property.
Assured and Short Assured Tenancies
Assured and short assured tenancies cover most tenancies in the private rented sector that began between 2 January 1989 and 1 December 2017.
Under coronavirus rules, the notice period a landlord had to give before raising eviction proceedings was extended in some cases to 6 months. A landlord can now ask a tenant to leave by serving a notice to quit giving 28 days or 40 days’ notice, depending on the length of the tenancy.
After that period the landlord must serve a further notice that an eviction action will be raised giving either 2 weeks or 2 months’ notice depending on the reason for eviction.
Scottish Secure Tenancies
A Scottish secure tenancy is a tenancy with a local authority (council), a housing association or a housing co-operative. Under coronavirus rules, the landlord had to give six months’ notice in many cases if they wanted the property back. A landlord can now raise an action for eviction after giving a minimum of 28 days’ notice.
Some protections remain in place
Many of the extra protections for tenants have now ended, but some changes brought in during the pandemic remain in place until at least 30 September 2022.
Landlords in private tenancies will continue to have to prove that it is ‘reasonable’ that an eviction order should be granted. This means that a tenant’s personal circumstances must be considered by a tribunal when deciding whether they can be evicted.
In private tenancy eviction cases where the tenant is behind on rent, landlords must show that they have tried to resolve the problem of rent arrears with the tenants before they can apply for an eviction order. This means the landlord must try to agree a reasonable payment plan for the arrears and future rent payments. The tenant must also be signposted towards information about debt management and financial advice.
Our lawyers are here to help
If you are under 18, or under 26 if you are care-experienced, and you receive notice that your landlord wants to evict, please get in touch on 0808 1290 522 to speak with one of our lawyers.