As housing charities call for the government to extend its evictions moratorium into 2021, landlords are warning that many of its ranks will face bankruptcy even under current restrictions.
The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) has warned that it could take until this time next year for landlords to repossess some properties if the current eviction moratorium is extended, putting many at risk of going out of business.
Charities including Homeless Action Scotland and Unison Scotland have issued a joint call to the Scottish Government to extend the current moratorium beyond the current time-frame of up to six months, and to only decide on lifting it after the restrictions around COVID end.
Homeless Action Scotland says: “The Scottish Government has given a handout to landlords with the passing of the second Coronavirus Bill. We recommend that the Scottish Government now considers giving a hand up to tenants.”
However, SAL believes that even if the First-tier Tribunal re-opens in July, there would be a large backlog of cases and this could mean that landlords need to have suffered at least 12 months of rent arrears before getting an eviction.
“If a tenant hasn’t paid rent from the start of lockdown, it would be the end of June before they can issue the Notice to Leave – this six months’ notice takes it to December before you can make an application to the First-tier Tribunal,” chief executive John Blackwood tells LandlordZONE. “Most landlords can’t sustain such long-term losses.”
He adds: “We’re encouraged to hear stories where landlords are working with tenants to arrange re-payment plans. However, many landlords are not able to access financial support and inevitably will go out of business. We must do everything we can to avoid this happening.”