Scotland’s emergency cornonavirus bill will affect Bell Ingram clients in 3 main areas

MSPs have voted to give the Scottish Government emergency powers to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

The Emergency Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill was passed on Wednesday 1st April 2020 by the Scottish Parliament and should receive Royal Assent by the end of this week.

The legislation will remain in place until 30th September 2020, after which MSPs can extend it by a further six months on two occasions, up to a maximum of 18 months overall. Ministers have undertaken to report back to Holyrood on the use of the powers every two months.

So what’s in this new bill and how is it going to impact Bell Ingram’s clients

What it means for landlords ...

One of the main functions of the legislation is to give people who rent their homes increased protection from eviction during the pandemic.

The temporary new rules will increase notice periods for all tenant evictions to up to six months, as long as there are not grounds involving antisocial or criminal behaviour, or if the landlord or family member needs to move into the property themselves. The latter ground remain at three months.

Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, announced that the Scottish Government is to create a scheme by the end of April 2020 providing interest-free loans, with deferred payments, to landlords whose tenants are having difficulty paying rent due to Covid-19.

It’s also worth pointing out that tenants must not presume the coronavirus outbreak gives them "a green light" to stop paying their rent. Landlords group the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has called on the the government to be clearer about the support provided by landlords and lenders after calls for struggling tenants (students in particular) to be given time rent-free.

For more information about any aspect of Bell Ingram's Land Management service contact

What it means for construction projects ...

If you have obtained “full planning permission” or “planning permission in principle” those permissions will not expire for 12 months, irrespective of whether your development has commenced. The permission would however lapse if your development has not commenced before the end of the 12-month period.
For more information about planning contact Bell Ingram Design at

What it means for Muirburn ...

With just weeks of the “burning” season remaining, the emergency legislation has also made all muirburn activity across Scotland temporarily illegal. Should you have an obligation to undertake muirburn as part of an Agi-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) you should write/email your case officer and request a derogation.
More information available on the Scottish Land & Estates website.

Mark Mitchell

Managing Partner
Rural Land Management
Tel: 01738 646 584

Article posted on 31/03/2020

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