Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has welcomed the Scottish Government's proposal to extend emergency housing powers to help prevent eviction as a result of rent arrears occurring due to COVID-19.
Data from the Citizens Advice network shows a big rise in concerns about housing, particularly in the private rented sector, demonstrating the importance of today's announcement by the Scottish Government. Between February and July there has been:
- a 22% rise in the proportion of advice given on housing
- a 35% increase in the proportion of housing advice given in relation to the private rented sector
- in debt advice, a 300% increase in the proportion of advice on private rent arrears among all types of housing arrears advice
CAS Social Justice Policy Manager, Nina Ballantyne, said: “So far during the current crisis, the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 has given vital protection to tenants who are concerned about their ability to pay rent.
“We made clear to the Scottish Government that withdrawing it before the full economic impact of COVID-19 is understood would risk a rise in homelessness and destitution, so we are pleased to see today's announcement and hope MSPs will support this extension when it is brought to Parliament.
“As emergency financial support schemes wind down, there is growing risk of a housing crisis.
“Whilst significant action will be needed to deal with the issue of mounting rent arrears, this would be the first step to ensuring legal protection over winter is extended to prevent evictions.”