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30 March, 2020 Open access

Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill will provide ‘important backstop’ to prevent evictions and relieve the financial pressure people may be facing

Constitution Secretary also says Bill will introduce ‘substantial additional emergency powers' to help the justice system, public services and the economy to cope

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill will provide an ‘important backstop' to prevent evictions and relieve the financial pressure people may be facing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Scottish Government has said

Confirming that the Bill is to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament tomorrow and is expected to pass all its stages the following day, 1 April 2020, the Scottish Government says that key measures will include protecting renters from eviction during the outbreak by adjusting the notice periods for the majority of repossession grounds across both private and social rented sectors to up to six months.

NB - other measures will include support for businesses, consumers and public services to cope with the period of acute pressure; and adjustment to criminal procedures and other aspects of the justice system to ensure essential justice business can continue throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

Commenting on the Bill, Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said -

‘While all tenants experiencing issues with rent arrears should firstly explain their circumstances to their landlords, this new emergency legislation will provide an important backstop to prevent evictions and relieve the financial pressure people may be facing. We are also encouraging all landlords to be as flexible as possible during this unprecedented time and would urge them to also seek assistance if necessary by speaking to their lenders about mortgage breaks.

This bill will provide substantial additional emergency powers to help the justice system, public services and the economy to cope. These measures, which will be strictly limited to the duration of the outbreak, are absolutely necessary to help us all through the coming months.’

For more information see Tenants to be given extra protection from gov.scot

Stop press (31 March 2020) - the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill is available from parliament.scot