In anticipation of a hard winter, last night (6 October 2022) the Scottish Parliament passed The Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Bill.
The Bill places a moratorium on evictions (with certain exceptions) and a rent freeze for residential tenancies in response to the cost of living crisis.
The moratorium will apply to decrees (judgements) for removal granted after the legislation comes into force in respect of short tenancies under the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984, assured tenancies, private residential tenancies, Scottish secure tenancies, private residential tenancies and student residential tenancies. It will not apply where a decree for removal is or was granted on the basis of substantial rent arrears, convictions for certain offences, antisocial behaviour or harassment or the tenant being absent from the property. There are some further exceptions are set out in Schedule 2 of the Bill.
Whilst proceedings for possession can still be raised, the legislation impacts upon the ability to enforce decrees for removal granted post enactment of the legislation. If the decree for removal was granted in relation to an eviction notice served on or after 6 September 2022 but before the legislation comes into force, a charge for removal cannot be enforced – unless steps have already been taken to enforce.
The moratorium will last for 6 months and will cease to apply (i) at the end of the 6-month period beginning on the day when the decree for removal is granted; or (ii) at the expiry of the legislation if this occurs prior to the end of the 6-month period– whichever is earlier.
The rent cap provides that on or after 6 September 2022, landlords cannot increase rent payable by more than 0%. Any increase notice given on or after 6 September but before the legislation comes into force is of no effect.
The Bill has an expiry date of 31 March 2022. However, Scottish Ministers have discretion to extend the legislation to 30 September 2023 and then further to 31 March 2024.
The legislation will come into force the day after it receives Royal Assent.
It is unclear at this stage what approach the courts and First-tier Tribunal may take to such matters.
If you have any queries about the Bill, please get in touch with the key contacts outlined below.