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The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act which was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 1st April 2020 and received Royal Assent on Monday 6th April 2020 provides the Scottish government with a range of emergency powers which will have a substantial impact on the property sector throughout Scotland.

Financial Assistance for Landlords

Included in these new measures is the announcement of financial assistance for Landlords who suffer loss as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

This assistance is intended to address the situation where a landlord suffers a drop in rental income.  For example, where it isn’t possible to lease a property or where the tenant is struggling to pay the rent, due ot Coronavirus-related issues.

Whilst it should be noted that this financial assistance comes in the form of a loan, rather than a grant, if available, it will still be a valuable resource given that the loan is interest-free.

Details of the scheme and the start-date are yet to be confirmed but it is believed that loans may be available from the end of April.

Changes to eviction procedures

The Act also includes changes to the eviction procedure for residential tenancies.  These changes will initially apply from the date the Bill received Royal Assent (6th April 2020) until 30th September 2020 but the legislation provides for the end date to be adjusted if deemed to be necessary.

In essence, these changes mean that if a tenant does not voluntarily vacate a property and the Landlord applies for an eviction order, the First Tier Tribunal may apply a test of ‘reasonableness’ in deciding whether or not to grant the order.  This means that the Tribunal will weigh up the needs and rights of the tenant with those of the Landlord based on the circumstances in each individual case.

The legislation also makes changes to the notice period which a Landlord is required to give a tenant.  The notice period which will apply in any particular case, depends on the type of tenancy and the eviction ground being used.

As a practical point, Landlords should be aware that the Housing and Property Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal, which deals with eviction cases, will not be available to hear cases until at least 28th May 2020, further information can be found here

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