Calls to Scottish Government to extend renters’ protection

Demand for protections for renters to remain in place until at least April.

Scottish ministers have been urged to prevent a “wave of homelessness” by protecting renters from eviction during the pandemic until next spring.

A coalition of housing, homelessness and welfare organisations are demanding the Scottish Government ensures protections remain in place until at least April.

When coronavirus struck, emergency legislation passed at Holyrood included measures to prevent tenants from being evicted.
But with these measures only in place until the end of September, the groups involved said more people are now “worried about how they will keep a roof over their head”.

Shelter Scotland, the Scottish Refugee Council, the Scottish Churches Housing Association, the Cyrenians and the Legal Services Agency are among the groups that have written an open letter to housing minister Kevin Stewart.

When Holyrood returns from its summer recess on Tuesday, August 11, they want the Scottish Government to confirm the extension of emergency powers “to ensure vulnerable households cannot be evicted until at least April 2021”.

Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson said: “As we emerge from this crisis, no-one wants to see families losing their homes or vulnerable people being forced back on to the streets.

“We know the pandemic has had a terrible impact on household finances.

“Thousands have lost their jobs, rent arrears are increasing and we’ve seen big increases in homelessness applications and the use of temporary accommodation.

“We must act now to stop the situation from getting worse.”

She asked ministers “to step up once again by protecting people from being evicted and preventing a wave of homelessness this autumn.”

Housing secretary Stewart said the points raised in the letter would be carefully considered as part of assessing the ongoing operation of the emergency coronavirus legislation.

He said: “We recognise the significant financial hardship some people may be facing as a result of the pandemic which is why we took swift action through emergency legislation.

“We have, in effect, halted eviction action for up to six months to help tenants to remain in their home.

“The Scottish Government has been clear no landlord should evict a tenant because they have suffered financial hardship due to coronavirus.

“We expect landlords to be flexible with tenants facing financial hardship and signpost them to the range of support that is available to help tenants pay their rent.”

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