In England, it takes a landlord 17 weeks, on average, to evict a tenant – that’s 119 days. North of the border, things are a lot different.
There, freedom of information research carried out by a Scottish law firm has found that landlords face an average eviction time-frame of 300+days – more than 42 weeks.
The delays are due to a shakeup in the Scottish legal system, which began in 2017. Now, all private sector housing cases related to rent problems and repair issues are heard by a Housing and Property Chamber Tribunal. Shifting these less serious cases out of the main court system sounds great in theory, but the number of such cases has sky-rocketed and the tribunal has received in excess of 3,800 applications in the last twelve months. As a result, delays grow ever longer.
Application for an Eviction Order
Scottish landlords can only apply for an eviction order after a tenant has failed to pay the rent for three months. It takes around 141 days to secure an eviction order after an application is made. Then there are further delays, including a statutory 28-day notice period and a 30-day appeal period, which all add to the delays experienced by landlords.
Scottish Landlords Feel Targeted
Many landlords are feeling the strain as a result of such long delays. For some, going 42+ weeks without any rental income, on top costs associated with pursuing the case through the tribunal, is not viable. And if a landlord has a buy to let mortgage to pay, he’s in even worse hot water.
“Scotland’s landlords already feel unfairly targeted after a number of taxation changes, such as the Additional Dwelling Supplement. To now also have to wait 10 months to secure an eviction and re-let is adding further unacceptable pressure,” says Adrian Sangster from law firm Aberdein Considine.
A Lack of Investment in PRS
Sangster says the private rental sector is an important part of the Scottish housing mix. He warns a lack of investment in the sector is doing great harm by forcing landlords out. This reduces the stock of private rental housing and creates difficulties for tenants looking for a home. As supply falls and demand rises, rents also rise.
In addition to the long eviction delays suffered by many landlords in Scotland, around 20% of applications for rejected for technical reasons, further adding to the misery. Experts say such delays can be avoided if landlords seek legal advice before filling out an eviction application and serving notice on their tenant.
Are you a Scottish landlord? Have you experienced huge delays when trying to evict a tenant? Tell us more below or ping us on Twitter. We’d love to hear your stories.
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