Landlords should be aware that court orders for the eviction of residential tenants are currently enforceable, provided that the property is situated in a local authority area which is classed as Level 0,1 or 2 for the purposes of The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 ("the Regulations").
Landlords will be aware that the Scottish Government has afforded some protections to residential tenants from eviction as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 introduced protections against eviction for residential tenants. These include additional requirements in relation to the giving of notice, longer timescales for court proceedings and a judicial discretion to grant or withhold an eviction order. The protections are currently in force until 30 September 2021.
It is a common misconception that this legislation has imposed a 'ban' on evictions from residential tenancies. That is not the case. Landlords can serve notices and raise proceedings, and eviction orders can be granted where appropriate in the circumstances.
The Regulations do however prevent landlords from instructing sheriff officers (or any other person) to attend a residential dwelling to either serve a charge for removing or to execute a decree for removing an individual from the residential property in a Level 3 or Level 4 area, unless the eviction has been granted on a ground relating to criminal or anti-social conduct by the tenant.
The practical effect of the Regulations is that residential tenants (a) can be evicted from properties within Level 0,1 or 2 areas and (b) cannot be evicted from properties within Level 3 or Level 4 local authority areas, even where an eviction order has been granted.
The decision of the Scottish Government to move Glasgow City Council from Level 3 to Level 2 with effect from 4 June 2021 means that at the time or publication eviction orders can be enforced in all local authority areas within Scotland.
The Scottish Government review the tiers applicable to local authority areas every 21 days. That means that the enforceability of eviction orders is subject to change and in particular that an eviction order which is currently enforceable may become unenforceable if the relevant local authority area is moved into Level 3 or Level 4 at the time when the landlord seeks to enforce the order.
Should you wish more information please contact your usual Brodies contact.