Eviction ban to be extended until April 2021, Nicola Sturgeon announces

The First Minister was ask to commit more support for tenants at First Minister’s Questions.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the extension to the eviction ban during FMQs.

The temporary ban on evictions will be extended until March 2021 the First Minister confirmed today following warnings of a “tidal wave” of evictions.

It comes just a day after the Michael Russell said the Scottish Government could not confirm whether the ban would be extended as part of the renewal of coronavirus legislation.

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The commitment to extend the ban on evictions, which will see eviction applications through the first tier tribunal which deals with the process paused until next Spring.

Responding to a question from the Scottish Greens’ co-leader Patrick Harvie, Nicola Sturgeon said no tenant should be evicted due to financial hardship caused by Covid-19.

She said: “The emergency legislation which we passed through this parliament in effect halted eviction action for up to six months, so he talks about applications but no people can be evicted.

"That emergency legislation is currently in place until September 30 and yesterday we confirmed, subject to the agreement of parliament, that it will be extended to March 2021 which I think underlines the continuing commitment of the government to do everything we can to protect tenants and also prevent people becoming homeless as a results of this pandemic.

Responding, Mr Harvie said that the measures do not go far enough and will not provide “long term security” for those who are at risk of losing their homes.

He said: “The Scottish Greens have been pushing for greater protection for tenants for months, as every forecast shows this pandemic will cause long term economic damage to our most vulnerable communities.

“Extending the temporary pause on evictions beyond next month will help a little, but this won’t provide long term security for those in danger of losing their home, nor avoid winter evictions as the six-month notice evictions are implemented.

"I urge the First Minister to look again at Andy Wightman’s proposed rent freeze and a ban on any evictions arising as a consequence of arrears accrued due to COVID-19. To keep protecting landlords while failing tenants would be unacceptable.”

The move from the Scottish Government was backed by Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson who said the decision will give “breathing space” to those hid hardest by the pandemic.

She said: “The Scottish Government continues to show real leadership by protecting more tenants from losing their homes.

“This will give breathing space to thousands of people who’ve been hit hard by this pandemic, so they have a fair chance to deal with the work and money problems that have been forced on them.

“Today’s decision is a big win for tenants and for Shelter Scotland’s campaign. We want to thank our supporters who emailed their MSPs to demand action, and key organisations across Scotland who pushed for this outcome.

“This shows that when we work together we can win real change. We’ll keep fighting to stop homelessness and deliver safe, affordable homes for everyone who needs them.”

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