All evictions banned as Scotland braces for COVID-19 impact

The government said it did "not want to see anyone lose their house over the head of this pandemic"

All evictions from private and social rented properties will be banned for six months in Scotland, Holyrood has announced.

It’s part of a set of emergency measures brought in to protect people from the fallout of the coronavirus crisis – which is likely to leave many struggling to make rent.

Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, told parliament: “Nobody as a result of this should lose their house. There should be no eviction as a result of COVID.

“Aside from the legislation, I have also had assurances from the SFHA [Scottish Federation of Housing Associations] that they will not evict anyone at all during this time.

“We do not want to see anyone lose their house over the head of this pandemic.”

This follow the news that Westminster would implement a three-month mortgage holiday as well as introducing a ban on evictions for the same length of time.

David Hanson, spokesperson for tenants’ campaign group Living Rent, said this was a “brilliant win” for tenants.

He added: “It was always an absurd prospect that tenants could be threatened with eviction during a global pandemic, and this announcement from the Scottish Government is extremely welcome.

“It is now crucial that we also ensure that tenants are not driven into enormous debts over the course of the pandemic. When workplaces shut their doors, tenants who were already struggling to make ends meet simply will not be able to pay their rent.

“The government must, as a matter of urgency, guarantee these people the protections we need and have these rents written off.

Once this is over, we cannot just go back to normal

“As well as these emergency measures, this pandemic has underlined just how precarious life has become for far too many tenants. For many of us across Scotland, we have always only ever been one or two paychecks away from poverty.

“Once this is over, we cannot just go back to normal: the government has got to take serious action on sky-high rents.”

Ahead of the ban being rolled out in England and Wales, housing charity Shelter released estimates that suggested more than 50,000 households could have been facing eviction through the courts over the next six months, a figure which may have risen dramatically with the fall-out of the pandemic and any resulting economic crash.