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Home loss and and disturbance payments

If you're forced to move out of your home, for example, because the council has bought it to demolish it, you may be able to apply for a home loss and disturbance payment to compensate you for the inconvenience, stress and upset caused by the move. This page explains more.

What is a home loss and disturbance payment?

A home loss and disturbance payment is a form of compensation that you can claim if you are forced to leave your home in certain circumstances. It's designed to make up for the inconvenience, stress and upset caused by the move, not to cover the expenses of the move or the value of your home - you can apply for a home loss and disturbance payment to pay for these costs.

Home loss payments can be made by the council, housing associations, the Scottish Government or other public authorities. On this page, we use the example of the council.

When can I claim a home loss and disturbance payment?

You should be able to claim a home loss payment if:

  • you have to leave your home permanently, and
  • you have to move as a result of certain circumstances, and
  • you are entitled to claim, and
  • you have lived in the property for at least a year.

Do I have to move out permanently?

Yes. You can only claim a home loss payment if you have to move out for good. So, for example, you won't be able to claim if you need to move out for a few months while work is being carried out, and are then allowed to move back in again.

In which circumstances can I claim?

You may be able to claim a home loss payment if you lose your home as a result of any of the following situations:

  • If you own your home and it's bought by the council or another public authority through a compulsory purchase order (CPO).
  • If you are a tenant and your landlord has agreed voluntarily to sell your home to a council or other public authority which would otherwise have bought the property using a CPO.
  • If the council or another public authority which has the power to obtain compulsory purchase orders is redeveloping the area your home is in (for example, by demolishing houses or building new facilities).
  • If you can no longer occupy your home because the council has issued a demolition order, improvement order, closure order or dangerous building notice.
  • If you're a housing association tenant and your landlord is redeveloping your home, and you won't be able to move back in once the work is done (for example, if they're demolishing an old block of high rise flats to build modern apartments instead).
  • If you're a Scottish secure tenant and your landlord has got a court order to evict you because they are demolishing or carrying out substantial improvements to your home. The section on eviction explains this in more detail.

Who is entitled to claim?

You may be able to apply for a home loss payment if:

  • you own your home, or
  • you're a tenant, or
  • you're married or in a civil partnership with the owner or tenant but they no longer live in the property, or
  • you live in tied accommodation, provided as part of your job.

Landlords who don't live on the property aren't entitled to claim home loss payments.

What if I haven't lived in the property for a year?

In order to claim a home loss payment, you need to have lived in the property for at least a year before the date you have to leave.

However, you should still be able to get a payment if you've been a tenant for less than a year but have lived in the property for more than a year. For example, if you lived with your partner for two years before your relationship broke down, and the tenancy was transferred into your name six months ago, you should be entitled to get a home loss payment, even though you've been a tenant for less than a year.

How much compensation can I get?

This depends on whether you're a tenant or an owner-occupier.

Owner-occupiers

Owners are entitled to receive up to 10 per cent of the market value of their home, with a minimum payment of £1,500 and a maximum payment of £15,000. If you don't think your home has been valued correctly, you can appeal to the Lands Tribunal.

Tenants and other applicants

Tenants and other applicants (including the husband/wife or civil partner of an owner who no longer lives in the property) will receive a flat rate of £1,500 if their application is successful.

If you're a council tenant and you have rent arrears, your home loss payment may be reduced to cover the arrears. Speak to an adviser for more information if this applies to you.

How do I claim a home loss payment?

In order to claim a home loss payment, you need to apply in writing to the council, housing association or other authority responsible for the compulsory move. There should be a standard claim form available to do this. You'll need to provide proof that you've lived in the property for at least a year - for example, your tenancy agreement, rent book or mortgage statements.

If you've lived in the property for more than a year but haven't been the owner or official tenant for the whole time, you may need to provide other proof that you've lived there, for example, bills or bank statements.

When should I put my claim in?

You can make your claim before you have to move, or up to five years afterwards. However, it's important to remember that if your claim is turned down and you decide to take the matter to court (see 'what if my claim is turned down' below), the court appeal must also be made within five years of the removal date, so it's best to put in a claim as soon as possible.

When will I get the money?

You should receive the money by the latest of these dates:

  • the date you have to move out, or
  • within three months of making your claim, or
  • if you own the home, the date when the valuation of the property is agreed.

If you're an owner-occupier and you haven't agreed on a valuation of your property by:

  • the date you have to move out, or
  • three months after making your claim

the council must make you an advance payment on whichever of the two dates is later.

This advance payment should be either £15,000 or 10 per cent of the council's current estimation of the market value of your home, whichever is smaller. If your home then turns out to be more valuable than the current estimate, the council must make up the rest of the money later. If the final valuation turns out to be lower, you'll need to pay the excess back.

What if I don't meet the criteria?

If you don't meet all the criteria, the council may choose to make you a discretionary payment. For example, the council may decide to make you a payment even if you haven't lived at the property for a whole year.

If you're a home owner and the council wants to purchase your property, it might offer you a discretionary payment if you agree to sell your home voluntarily, rather than waiting for the council to get an compulsory purchase order.

What if my claim is turned down?

If you believe you meet all the criteria for making a claim but the council turns you down, you can take the council to the sheriff court or to the Court of Session for a judicial review. Contact a solicitor if you're in this position, as they will be able to tell you whether you have a case, and help you take legal action. You may be able to get legal aid to help pay for some of your legal costs.

If you're not happy with the way the council has dealt with your claim, you may be able to complain to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

What if the person who was entitled to the payment has died?

If the person who was entitled to the payment dies before they receive the money, you may be able to get the home loss payment on their behalf, provided that:

  • you are over the age of 18, and
  • you lived in the property for at least a year before you were removed, and
  • you're entitled to inherit the payment either through the will of the person who died, or because you were married to them, in a civil partnership with them, or related to them. Our section on death in the household explains more about what happens when someone you live with dies.

Can more than one person get a home loss payment for the same property?

This may be possible if:

  • two or more people own a property jointly and you all live there, or
  • two or more people have a joint tenancy, or
  • two or more people are entitled to inherit the payment (see 'what if the person who was entitled to the payment has died' above).

In this case, the payment will be divided equally between the claimants. The shares will be equal even if one of you owns a bigger share of the property, has been paying more rent or is entitled to a larger share of the inheritance.

Can I get a home loss payment if I live in a mobile home?

If you own your mobile home but rent a pitch to put it on, you may be entitled to a home loss payment if you have to move from the site due to demolition or improvement works.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
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The important points

  • Home loss payments are compensation you can claim if you are forced to move from your home.
  • You can only claim a home loss payment if you have to move out for good.
  • In order to claim a home loss payment, you need to have lived in the property for at least a year before the date you have to leave.
  • In order to claim a home loss payment, you need to apply in writing to the council, housing association or other authority responsible for the compulsory move. 

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