Scotland passes emergency eviction and rent-freezing legislation

Understanding Scotland's Tenant Protection Bill: Rent Freeze and Eviction Ban Explained


Oct 12 | 3 minutes read
Scotland passes emergency eviction and rent-freezing legislation

Overview of the Tenant Protection Bill

In response to the ongoing cost of living hikes, the Scottish government has passed the Tenant Protection Bill, which modifies the laws governing rented housing and institutes a rent freeze. The bill will be in effect until March 31, 2023, with the option to extend it for two additional six-month periods through 2024. The government plans to review the measures every three months to ensure they accurately reflect the cost of living at the time.

 

 

How Scotland's Rent Freeze Works

The emergency rent cap applies to both tenants who rent from private landlords and those who rent from local governments. Here's how it operates:

  • The rent cap is set at zero and affects all planned rent increases from September 6, 2022, onwards (the date the government first announced its plans for the bill).
  • Rent increases approved before September 6, 2022, will not be subject to the new cap.
  • While the measure is in effect, the government has the discretion to adjust the cap as needed in response to "changes in the wider economic situation."

 

How Scotland's Eviction Ban Operates

Evictions are only permitted in specific situations, with the ban covering public, private, and student housing rentals. Individual cases will be delayed by a maximum of six months, unless the law is repealed earlier. The Scottish government hopes that this action will "provide tenants more time to look for support and alternative housing that matches their needs."

 

Exceptions to Scotland's Eviction Ban

The eviction ban does not apply in certain circumstances, which are listed below. Please note that some of these grounds are temporary in nature, while others are permanent:

  1. Landlord intends to sell due to significant financial strain (a new temporary ground)
  2. Property to be sold by the lender
  3. Landlord intends to live in the property to avoid their own homelessness (a new temporary ground)
  4. Tenant not employed by the landlord
  5. Tenant not occupying the rented property
  6. Rent arrears amounting to 6 months or more worth of rent (a new temporary ground)
  7. Criminal activity by the tenant
  8. Anti-social activity by the tenant
  9. Association with a person who has a relevant conviction or engaged in relevant anti-social behavior
  10. Rent arrears of £2250 or more (modified by the act)
  11. Using the house for illegal or immoral purposes or other criminal offenses
  12. Tenant's absence from the property
  13. Anti-social behavior or conduct amounting to harassment by the tenant
  14. Nuisance, annoyance, or conduct amounting to harassment by the tenant
  15. Demolition of, or substantial work on, the property
  16. Islands council as education authority
  17. Intent to live in the house to alleviate financial hardship (a new temporary ground)
  18. House to be sold by the lender
  19. Substantial rent arrears of 6 months rent or more (a new temporary ground)
  20. Conviction for certain offenses, acting in an anti-social manner, or pursuing a course of anti-social conduct
  21. Employment with the landlord ceases

 

Additionally, certain cases are exempt from the eviction ban, including:

  1. Substantial rent arrears of 6 months rent or more (a new temporary ground)
  2. Nuisance, annoyance, or conviction for using or allowing the dwelling-house to be used for immoral or illegal purposes
  3. Employment with the landlord ceases
  4. Intent to live in the house to alleviate financial hardship (a new temporary ground)
  5. Owner-occupier's house to be sold by the lender
  6. Owner's house to be sold by the lender

 

These exceptions ensure that landlords can still take action in cases involving anti-social or criminal behavior, substantial rent arrears, and situations where the landlord faces financial hardship or needs to occupy the property themselves.

 

Conclusion

The Tenant Protection Bill, encompassing Scotland's rent freeze and eviction ban, aims to address the increasing cost of living and provide security for tenants during uncertain times. Both private and public sector tenants will benefit from the rent cap and eviction ban, which are subject to ongoing review by the government. By understanding the key provisions of this bill, renters in Scotland can stay informed about their rights and the measures in place to protect them.

 

 


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