Despite attempts to persuade the committee voting through amendments to Scotland’s latest emergency Coronavirus legislation to accept the need for the radical proposals, they have now been left out of the latest draft.
Scottish MSPs have rejected four proposals added recently to the country’s draft emergency Coronavirus legislation as amendments.
This included a two-year rent freeze, a hardship fund for tenants and a tenant rent support facility as well as voting down plans to allow judges to disregard rent arrears as grounds for eviction during the pandemic.
The proposals were included within 53 amendments tabled by several parties at a crucial committee meeting, including the Green Party, to vote on amendments to Scotland’s second emergency coronavirus bill, which is currently making its way through parliament.
“The Bill makes changes that will help public services continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic,” the bill’s supporting guidance says.
“It also includes changes to support businesses and individuals. These reflect changes to the way people can live and work during the emergency situation.”
Referring to the rent freeze, committee member and MSP Graham Simpson said he opposed the measure because: “Many landlords have reduced their rents to help tenants already during the crisis, and I know landlords in Edinburgh who have reduced their rents by 30% for a minimum of three months and that’s what should happen – tenants telling landlords when they are facing difficulties, and landlords responding in a flexible manner.”
But although MSPs rejected these proposals, a key one did make it through; to enable students to exit their existing rental contracts by giving seven days’ notice during the Coronavirus crisis.A further amendment also exempts landlords from paying council tax on properties that have been vacated by tenants, during the crisis.