The Scottish Government has unveiled the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) Scotland Bill, which details how they intend to implement a rent freeze and eviction moratorium. The Bill will need the approval of the Scottish Parliament but if enacted in its current format (and the legislation is being fast tracked to be enacted in a matter of days) then these measures apply to all residential tenancies in Scotland including private residential tenancies, assured and short assured tenancies.
The Bill proposes a rent freeze; that by imposing a maximum permitted rate of rent increase and setting that at zero. That cap likely will remain until at least March 31st 2023.
That cap applies to any rent increase proposed on or after 6th September 2022; but not where a notice was issued prior to 6th September.
The Bill proposes a moratorium preventing enforcement action for residential evictions for a maximum of 6 months and that running (retrospectively) from 6th September 2022 until at least March 31st 2023.
This means the First Tier Tribunal can continue to issue orders for eviction, but that these orders cannot be enforced (by Sheriff Officers). Whether this causes any change in how the Tribunal deals with such applications remains to be learned.
There are certain exceptions to the moratorium –
Firstly, if a valid eviction notice has been served and Tribunal proceedings raised before 6th September, then the moratorium will not apply.
Secondly, even after 6th September certain limited exceptions are proposed, depending on the type of tenancy, but broadly being where
- there are substantial rent arrears (substantial meaning at least six months)
- the tenant has engaged in anti-social or criminal behaviour
- the tenant no longer occupies the property
- the landlord intends to live in the property to alleviate financial hardship
- the tenanted property is being sold by a lender (e.g. Bank, Building Society etc.)
We will monitor the legislation once enacted for any changes to the above; for further advice contact Jackson Boyd’s dispute resolution team.