Scottish eviction reforms need scrutiny

Scottish eviction reforms need scrutiny

15:03 PM, 29th June 2022, About 2 years ago 9

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The Scottish Government is aiming to sign into law Part 4 of the Coronavirus Bill (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland). The legislation would permanently make all grounds for eviction discretionary, meaning a tribunal would not have to automatically remove a tenant in cases of anti-social behaviour, rent arrears or a landlord needing to move into or sell a property.

At the height of the pandemic, all grounds for eviction of a tenant in the residential rental sector, including cases of rent arrears, anti-social behaviour, or a landlord needing to sell or move into the property, were temporarily made discretionary. PayProp has come out against making this a permanent rule.

Neil Cobbold, managing director at PayProp UK, says making all grounds for eviction permanently discretionary appears to go against the pledge made by the Scottish government with the introduction of Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) agreements in 2017.

In 2017, the Scottish property industry was notified that some grounds for eviction would be strengthened to counteract removing the notice to quit clause included within the old assured and short assured tenancy agreements.

“The Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill seeks to make permanent the temporary changes of the last two years. At PayProp, we support reforms intended to ensure a fair and progressive private rental sector. But making these temporary changes permanent without implementing a new housing bill will deprive them of the normal level of scrutiny given a full housing bill, and the industry won’t have the opportunity to propose and consider alternative measures.”

Negative impact on the majority of tenants 

Cobbold also says there is a concern that these measures could deter investment, leaving tenants with a reduced choice of rental properties at higher prices, as some landlord groups have warned.

“By revising Part 4 of the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill to ensure the previously mandatory reasons for reclaiming possession are restored as mandatory, we believe landlords will be granted the reassurance they need,” Cobbold said. “Doing so would provide the necessary protection to existing landlords while giving clarity and reassurance to those considering investing in Scotland’s private rented sector.”

Implications for future evictions and the rest of the UK

With the number of evictions in the UK steadily increasing, there is the possibility that the rest of the UK could follow measures that are similar to those in Scotland to try and resolve the issue. The Westminster government has shown, in its commitment to scrap Section 21 evictions, that it’s keen on reforming the eviction process in England.

Shelter report that 14,123 landlords in England started court proceedings to evict tenants from their properties between October and December last year.

Cobbold says Scottish eviction reforms could yet have an impact across the UK, as what is trailed in Scotland is often implemented by Westminster at a later date. He says the same concerns must be considered in such a case.

And it may have other unintended consequences too. “Making all grounds for eviction permanently discretionary may help those who breach tenancy due to circumstances beyond their control. However, it could open the door to disruptive tenants who may use this safety net to exploit the rental sector.”

“To continue providing good homes to good tenants, the private rented sector requires a fairer approach that puts all parties on a level playing field. The provisions within the Coronavirus Bill (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) were designed to be temporary measures to support the immediate pandemic response, which was perfectly understandable. However, making them permanent without a housing bill and full consultation with the industry lacks transparency – something the sector needs more of – and, perhaps more damaging still, would set a precedent for future governments to make permanent other emergency temporary legislation passed during a time of national crisis, without proper scrutiny.”

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11:01 AM, 30th June 2022, About 2 years ago

This is the appropriation of private property by the state, not nationalisation but COMMUNISM!

Freda Blogs

11:05 AM, 30th June 2022, About 2 years ago

Utter, utter madness.

I agree that Boris and co will be watching and waiting to follow suit. Sequestration by the back door.

Last time I looked I didn't have 'doormat' written on my forehead, and I don't propose to start now.

I'm selling up.

David Smith

11:43 AM, 30th June 2022, About 2 years ago

If these reform’s are implemented I can see many BTL lenders pulling out of the market.

Jireh Homes

18:20 PM, 30th June 2022, About 2 years ago

With SNP / Green Party majority, Scottish Government is reneging on previous fair treatment between landlord and tenants, and an indication of the direction of travel with the New Deal for Tenants strategy. Hold a consultation, create legislation then change it anyway!

Dylan Morris

7:53 AM, 1st July 2022, About 2 years ago

“or a landlord needing to move into or sell a property” ……well that’s it game over.

Freda Blogs

9:14 AM, 1st July 2022, About 2 years ago

I read elsewhere this morning that the Scottish Government has now passed this draconian legislation unamended.

Dreadful situation for Scottish Landlords, and does not bode well for us in England.


9:55 AM, 1st July 2022, About 2 years ago

It is already difficult, time-consuming, and costly to evict under Mandatory conditions, and near impossible for e.g. ASB in England. I've recently been through it and it has so far cost me £20k.

This is typical of the SNP/Greens, and will be disastrous [as is everything else they touch]. But, I'd like to think Westminster is still largely democratic, and the SNP can pass nothing but hot air.

Luke P

12:33 PM, 1st July 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Dylan Morris at 01/07/2022 - 07:53
And not just because of a matter or principle…owning that property (which you cannot access) would prevent the LL from claiming benefits/get assistance with their own housing needs if, for whatever reason, everything fell apart around them. They’re trapped with an asset preventing State-help, but one which they cannot access/utilise/sell.

There’s something fundamentally wrong about that.

Luke P

12:50 PM, 1st July 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 01/07/2022 - 12:33
I’ll give another example. A LL has a debt. They only way to clear that debt is to sell their asset -the BTL- because they’re a good, upstanding citizen. But they’re prevented from selling because it’s been deemed their disabled single mother’s tenant’s needs are greater. So they have a debt they cannot and are being prevented from servicing, yet worse…whilst their creditor will no doubt put a charge over the property, potentially making it worthless to the LL, but the LL is forced to continue being so (and paying the necessary associated costs of upkeep/regulation)!!

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