The new Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill has been passed by the Scottish Parliament. It is expected to soon receive royal assent and pass into law, which will help protect victims of domestic abuse.

Social housing

Part 2 of the Bill creates a new ground for recovery of possession for a Scottish secure tenancy, the form of tenancy used in social housing, where a tenant engages in domestic abuse. In order for recovery proceedings to be successful: the abuser must be the sole tenant or a joint tenant with the victim, the house must be the victims only or principal home and the intention of the landlord and the victim are to remove the abuser from the house and for the landlord to enter into a tenancy with the victim.

It will also be possible to bring proceedings to end a joint tenant's interest where: the abuser and victim are the joint tenants and the intention of both the landlord and victim is for the victim to continue living in the house.

The court shall make an order for recovery of possession, terminating the abusers right in the property either where they feel it is reasonable to do so or where the abuser has been convicted of a domestic abuse offence punishable by imprisonment in the previous 12 months. When making this determination, the court must have regard for the risk that the tenant will engage in further abusive behaviour.

Brodies social housing team is proud to have worked with Scottish Women's Aid, the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Scottish Government on these provisions, which it is hoped will prevent victims of domestic abuse being made homeless.

Domestic abuse

The Bill defines domestic abuse as behaviour towards their current or ex- partner where a reasonable person would think that that behaviour is likely to cause the victim to suffer physical or psychological harm. There is no requirement for the behaviour to actually cause this harm. This definition mirrors almost exactly the definition in the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018.

Behaviour can include an intentional failure to do something (e.g. pass on details of a social engagement). It can be carried out by a third party and could be a course of conduct or a single incident. Similar to the 2018 act, the Bill intends that as well as physical abuse, psychological abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour are considered domestic abuse.

For more information on social housing, please contact Fiona McLeod or your usual Brodies contact. To learn more about Part 1 of the Bill, which introduces domestic abuse protection notices and domestic abuse protection orders, please see this blog from Brodies' family law team.


Fiona McLeod

Legal Director