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The Scottish Government has announced that its temporary ban on eviction orders will be extended until the end of March.
The current ban, which is in place until January 22, will be extended until 31 March. It covers all evictions in areas subject to level 3 or 4 restrictions, except cases of serious anti-social behaviour, including domestic abuse.
The measures will be subject to review every three weeks to determine its necessity in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.
Scotland’s housing minister Kevin Stewart said:
“Extending the temporary ban on the enforcement of eviction orders in the private and social rented sectors in areas subject to level 3 and 4 restrictions will support tenants, and offer people protection from transmission of the virus by being able to stay safe in their homes.
“It will also prevent additional burdens being placed on health and housing services during a time where they are already working hard due to the impact of the pandemic. This is a proportionate response to an extremely challenging set of circumstances.
“We have been clear that no landlord should evict a tenant because they have suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic. Tenants in difficulty should engage with their landlord and seek advice on the options open to them.”
Sally Thomas, chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, said:
“It is absolutely the right thing to do that we look after people’s health and wellbeing and we protect tenants who are struggling to pay their rent as a result of the financial effects of Covid-19, but it is of paramount importance that our members can act when there are cases of serious antisocial or criminal behaviour. We are pleased that the government has kept the exemptions in place for such incidences.”
However, Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson raised concerns about tenant debts once the ban comes to an end.
“This is a hugely welcome step from the Scottish Government. No one wants to see people losing their homes in these difficult times.
“But the end of March isn’t far away, and we know that huge numbers of people are struggling with their housing costs. To avoid a flood of evictions later in the year, ministers must put a plan in place to help people manage their debts.”