First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will work with opposition parties to stop what has been described as a potential “avalanche” of evictions in the coming months.
Recent reports claim 350 applications for eviction have been lodged since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown despite emergency legislation passed by the Scottish Government increasing the necessary notice period for evictions to six months.
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said during First Minister’s Questions that tenants could face eviction as soon as the legislation is lifted.
Nicola Sturgeon said she wants to extend the emergency laws until the end of March 2021.
The First Minister said: “The Government wants to extend that until March 2021 – I can’t say that is definitely happening because it is up to this Parliament to vote on that but if my party and his party vote for it then there should be no block on that.”
The First Minister added the extension shows the commitment of the Scottish Government to “do everything we can to protect tenants and prevent people becoming homeless as a result of the pandemic”.
She said: “I’m absolutely always willing to listen to where we can and should go further on these matters but the protection against eviction is there right now and, if this parliament agrees, it will be extended.”
The Greens co-leader said the emergency powers, which were passed in March in response to the pandemic, are “not enough”.
Green MSP Andy Wightman proposed a number of changes to the law as it made its way through Holyrood designed to protect tenants, including a two-year rent freeze and a ban on evictions caused by debt as a result of the pandemic, which were rejected by MSPs.
Mr Harvie said: “If the First Minister still can’t bring herself to back these policies, will she look at other measures to prevent a tidal wave of evictions this winter?
“Or will we be again looking to fix a crisis after the harm is done?”
The First Minister responded: “We remain happy to work with members across the chamber to see if there are further steps and further that we can reasonably take.”