An emergency extension to the notice period for evictions should be reduced, a housing group has said.
MSPs agreed to extend the evictions process to three months for tenants engaged in anti-social behaviour as part of emergency coronavirus legislation put in place earlier this year.
The Scottish Government announced last week it planned to extend the legislation – which is due to run until September – to next March.
However, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has called for the plans to be scrapped so they can better deal with anti-social behaviour among tenants.
Sally Thomas, chief executive of the SFHA, said: “It is absolutely the right thing to do that we protect tenants who are struggling to pay their rent as a result of the financial effects of Covid-19, but the Scottish Government must revert the notice period for evictions related to anti-social behaviour back to one month.
“We are hearing increasing evidence from our members of serious cases of anti-social behaviour that is making other tenants’ lives a misery, and our members must have the power to act quickly when this is the case.”
Ms Thomas also said there should be more support put in place through discretionary housing payments and the Scottish Welfare Fund to support people to pay their rent, as well as a nationwide campaign which would “highlight the importance of rent payment by tenants who are able to do so”.
She added: “We will continue to do everything we can to work with the Scottish Government to minimise the impact of the pandemic on tenants – but also on our members.
“Non-payment of rent can have serious consequences for housing associations and co-operatives.
“Rent is a vital source of income as it allows them to provide support and services for tenants and to carry out essential repairs and maintenance work.
“These frontline services are needed to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of tenants.”
Housing minister Kevin Stewart said the Scottish Government has confirmed its intention to lay regulations which will, subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament, extend the Scottish Coronavirus Acts to March 31, 2021.
He said: “We will continue to work with stakeholders to finalise the details of the extension. This will be set out in full later this month in the regulations for Parliament to consider.
“We don’t want anyone to face financial difficulty because of this pandemic, and the Scottish Government continues to work with tenant and landlord stakeholder groups to ensure people are fully aware of the relevant support around finances and housing costs during the current crisis.
“I recently issued an open letter to social housing tenants in Scotland and wrote to every private rented-household in Scotland, highlighting their rights and providing information on where they can find financial help and support.”
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