Enforcement of evictions from rented properties will be halted in Scotland for a six week period until mid-January.
The move will give extra protection to tenants during the coronavirus pandemic. It will reduce the burden on local authorities, who have a duty to rehouse people made homeless through evictions, and will also make it easier for people to self-isolate if they choose to form extended bubbles during the relaxation of Covid restrictions over Christmas.
Regulations will now be introduced that will prevent eviction orders being brought between 11 December and 22 January, with the exception of cases of serious anti-social behaviour.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “We took early action to, in effect, halt eviction action until March 2021 due to the pandemic. We have supported tenants throughout this difficult period through a number of actions including increasing our Discretionary Housing Fund from £11 million to £19 million to provide additional housing support and shortly we will introduce our Tenant Hardship Loan Fund.
“We are now taking this additional, temporary step after carefully assessing the unique housing situation created by the pandemic.
“A temporary ban on carrying out evictions will give additional peace of mind to tenants over Christmas and into the new year. It will also prevent additional burdens being placed on health and housing services, during a time where they are already working hard due to the impact of the pandemic.
“It will allow tenants who are facing eviction, and may decide to take the opportunity to form extended bubbles over the festive period in line with relaxed guidance, time to effectively self-isolate afterwards should they come into contact with a positive person.
“Where there is evidence of serious anti-social or criminal behaviour, including in cases of domestic abuse, evictions can still proceed as normal.”