Proposed changes: it is our intention, subject to the approval of Parliament, to extend the evictions moratorium across the private, social and student sectors until 30 September 2023.
Private and social rented sectors
As well as measures that will freeze rents, we are supporting tenants in the private and social rented sectors through a moratorium on evictions.
This prevents the enforcement of an eviction order or decree for a maximum of six months except in a limited number of circumstances.
This will help to protect tenants by reducing, where possible, the negative impacts on their health and wellbeing caused by being evicted, and being made homeless, by giving them more time to find alternative accommodation.
Similar to the rules that were in place during the pandemic, the act does not prevent landlords serving a notice to leave or notice of proceedings. Landlords will still be able to make an application to the Tribunal or the Sheriff Court, and the Tribunal or Court will still make a decision on whether to issue an eviction order or decree. However, there will be a delay in the eviction order or decree being enforced by Sheriff Officers.
Where a landlord is prevented from enforcing an order for eviction while the moratorium is in effect, the enforcement of that order can only be delayed for a maximum period of 6 months.
Applications lodged with the Tribunal or Court before the emergency legislation came into force on 28 October 2022 will not be affected by the emergency measures. These cases will continue in line with the legal requirements in place before the emergency measures, and those evictions will be able to take place. However, where proceedings were raised in relation to an eviction notice served on or after 6 September 2022, the moratorium would apply except in a limited number of circumstances set out in the act.
We recognise that landlords must be able to deal with serious cases such as antisocial or criminal behaviour, for example to evict perpetrators of domestic abuse, as well as additional exemptions to support landlords who find themselves in financial hardship.
The eviction moratorium will therefore not apply where the tenant is being evicted because:
- the tenant has engaged in antisocial or criminal behaviour (private, social and student accommodation sectors)
- the tenant has associated in the let property with someone who has a relevant criminal conviction or is behaving antisocially (private and social sector)
- the tenant has abandoned the property (private and social sector)
- where the property is to be sold by a lender (private sector only)
- where a private landlord needs to sell due to financial hardship (private sector only)
- where a private landlord needs to live in the let property due to financial hardship (private sector only)
- where there are substantial rent arrears (private and social sector)
Financial hardship of a private landlord will be assessed by the Tribunal, who will consider all relevant information about the landlord’s finances, and decide whether it is reasonable to evict in each case.
The definition of substantial rent arrears is:
- for the private rented sector: the cumulative amount of rent arrears is equal to or more than the equivalent of 6 months’ rent under the tenancy.
- for the social rented sector: the rent arrears are equal to or more than £2,250. (This amount is equal to or slightly more than 6 months’ average rent in the Scottish social rented sector).
The moratorium adds to existing protections for tenants in the private and social rented sectors. These include any pre-action protocol which landlords must carry out before seeking to evict a tenant for rent arrears, and discretion for the Tribunal and the Courts to consider all circumstances of the case when deciding whether it is reasonable to grant an eviction order. These protections help to ensure that eviction action can only take place when absolutely necessary.
The temporary eviction moratorium also applies to those in college and university halls of residence and Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA).
This means that the enforcement of evictions will be paused in college and university halls of residence and PBSA except for in cases of criminal or anti-social behaviour.
The enforcement of any individual eviction order or decree will only be delayed for a maximum of 6 months in each case.
Students should continue to pay their rent during this time. Anyone who is finding it hard to pay their rent should discuss this with their landlord as soon as possible. There are sources of help for people who are experiencing financial difficulties which may also be helpful. Students may also be eligible for support from other routes such as via hardship funds.
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