THE Scottish Government eviction ban has been branded a "sham" as it can be revealed the numbers of hearings involving tenants facing court proceedings to remove them from properties has doubled since last year.

There are 224 eviction hearings involving tenants renting from private landlords being dealt with in the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland in the month to March 15.

Just before the temporary pause on the enforcement of evictions came in from September 6, last year there were typically 100 hearings listed per month.

There are also understood to be nearly 100 cases taken by social landlords for eviction and/or rent arrears who provide affordable housing listed for Scottish sheriff courts in the four days from March 8. They are set for hearing in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Paisley, Greenock and Airdrie.

On Wednesday the Scottish Government confirmed a moratorium on evictions plus a rent cap would remain in place until September.

The First Minister first announced plans for an eviction ban and an immediate rent freeze for social housing and private tenants in September, last year as she branded the cost of living crisis a "humanitarian emergency".

The number of eviction case hearings lodged with the tribunal, according to court rolls before the eviction ban was put in place numbered 102 between June 15 and July 13 and 92 between May 27 and June 27.

Since the eviction ban there were 146 cases lodge between September 20 and October 28, a further 136 between November 28 and December 22.

The latest 224 case hearings lodged with the tribunal include one pursued by The Church of Scotland General Trustees.

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When launching the support for tenants last year under the Programme for Government, Ms Sturgeon said it "will aim to give people security about the roof over their heads...".

But there have been serious concerns over loopholes in the eviction ban brought in through the the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Bill 2022 which do not prevent tenants being turfed out.


There are concerns that landlords can apply for and be granted a valid eviction notice and issue it during the ban and will be able to force tenants out when the moratorium ends in September.  

The ban does not apply to those with arrears of six months or more or social tenants with debts of more than £2,250. It is estimated that the numbers with debts over that level would run into thousands as average household arrears in Scotland are believed to be running at over £4000.

Tenants can also be evicted where a private landlord needs to either sell or live in the property due to financial hardship.

Housing regulators forecast that rent arrears within the over 550,000 socially rented properties in Scotland are to peak in 2022/23 having hit £169.6m at the end of March, 2022, which amounts to 6.3% of the amounts due.

The Scottish Tenants' Organisation said people will be "shocked" to learn that the numbers going through proceedings for evictions has shot up since the ban came into place.

They said they were deeply concerned that the ban does not stop the court actions on the evictions process and merely delays the actual date when people will be forced out their homes.

They said that the latest cases brought to the tribunal and sheriff courts "bears witness to the fact that the eviction ban of the Scottish Government is a sham, that is economical with the truth.

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"The Scottish Government are failing to protect our most vulnerable tenants and their families in Scotland from this existential cost of living crisis that is ruining the lives of thousands.


"We face a wave of homelessness among tenants in Scotland which could be avoided if tenants and their families were truly protected from eviction by the Scottish Government instead of the fiction of the eviction ban."

Living Rent secretary Aditi Jehangir said: "The eviction ban is not a real eviction ban if landlords are still able to turf out tenants from their homes.

"The fact that double the amount of tenants are being forced before the First Tier Tribunal than were before the eviction ban started in September, shows the serious shortcomings of the legislation.

"That social landlords can evict tenants for arrears of £2250 compromises the safety and security of tenants up and down the country.

"In a cost of living crisis, security of tenure is vital. It is vital that the government legislates to close the loopholes in the eviction ban and increases the amount that social tenants can be evicted for. "

There has been further anger that ministers were continuing to "betray" the poorest in Scotland in the cost of living crisis by failing to apply rent caps to those letting from social landlords.

Under the Scottish Government plans to extend emergency provisions to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, for private landlords a rent freeze would be replaced by a cap from April.

Private landlords will be allowed to raise rents by a maximum of 3% but they can apply to Rent Service Scotland to increase the figure to 6% if they have a valid reason.

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Social landlords are required to keep any rent increases below inflation in 2023-24.

Sean Clerkin, campaigns co-ordinator for the STO added: "These evictions will worsen in number after the proposed rent increases by social landlords are put into effect from April with rents being allowed to increase substantially in the social rented sector.

"The Scottish Government should be ashamed of themselves for their misleading statements on protecting tenants when that is not the case."

The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) and Propertymark filed a petition at the Court of Session in January seeking judicial review of the emergency legislation passed last year aimed at tackling the cost of living crisis.

The petition stated that all three groups believe the law to be disproportionate and unfair, with the decision to retain rent control for the private rented sector and remove it for the social rented sector exacerbating the situation.

They have been approached for comment on the latest development.

After concerns over evictions ban loopholes first emerged, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations’ chief executive Sally Thomas said reports might have caused “unnecessary concern” to tenants.

She said: “A social landlord will never evict a tenant who is engaging with them and attempting to pay their rent. Housing associations exist for a strong social purpose: to provide safe, warm, affordable homes for life. Their rents are consistently around half of the level charged in the private sector. They also support their tenants on finances, employment, health, benefits and much more. It is completely counter to that purpose to evict tenants who might be struggling: social landlords will always seek to actively support those very tenants.

“During this cost of living crisis there will be more tenants struggling than ever before. Any tenant who is worried about their ability to pay their rent should contact their housing association as a matter of urgency: they can, and will, offer help and advice.”

In announcing the plans for the evictions moratorium and curbs on rent increases in September, Ms Sturgeon said: “In what is perhaps the most significant announcement I will make today, I can confirm to Parliament we will take immediate action to protect tenants in the private and in the social rented sectors.

“I can announce that we will shortly introduce emergency legislation to Parliament. The purpose of the emergency law will be two-fold.

“Firstly, it will aim to give people security about the roof over their head this winter through a moratorium on evictions.

“Secondly, the legislation will include measures to deliver a rent freeze.”

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: "It would be inappropriate to make any comment while tribunal case proceedings are underway."

A Scottish Government spokesman said that while emergency measures are in place, a notice to leave can still be served, and an application for eviction can be made but enforcement of the eviction is paused "except in certain circumstances". 

"This gives the tenants affected additional time to access support and find alternative accommodation during the cost crisis," said the spokesman. 

“This protection has been extended to September 30 - provided it remains necessary - with the option to extend for another six-month period if required. We also recognise that the rental sector needs longer term reform and that is why our New Deal for Tenants sets out proposals to deliver long-term rent controls by 2025.”