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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are here to help. Visit our coronavirus and housing information page for advice on your rights and the latest legislation.

Due to new government guidance on managing Coronavirus (COVID-19), we are closing our face to face advice services until further notice. You can still contact us for advice on our webchat or our free national emergency helpline.

See GOV.UK for the government response to the coronavirus outbreak

See NHS Inform Scotland for health advice on coronavirus

See Citizen Advice Scotland for non-housing related advice

Information on this page

The page is updated regularly. Last update 25 March 2020


Eviction

The Scottish Government has announced that it will bring in legislation to stop evictions in the private and social sectors for up to 6 months, we will update this page once more information is released.

Private Rented Tenancies 

The Housing and Property Chamber announced that all hearings and case management discussions will be postponed from 19 March 2020, this means that there will be no new eviction orders granted for private rented tenancies until 28 May 2020 at the earliest.

It isn't clear whether evictions will still go ahead if your landlord has already applied for and obtained an eviction order, we will update this page as and when this is clarified.

Social Tenancies

The SFHA have announced that there will be no evictions of housing association's tenants due to financial hardship brought on by COVID-19

Illegal eviction

Illegal eviction is a criminal offence - coronavirus doesn't change this.

Illegal eviction is when you are forced to leave your home by someone who does not have the legal right to do this.  

You might be illegally evicted if:

  • your landlord changes the locks
  • your landlord stops you from getting into your home 
  • your landlord makes life so uncomfortable for you that you are forced to leave your home, for example by cutting off water, gas or electricity supplies or by constantly turning up at your home late at night
  • you are physically removed from the property by a person who is not a sheriff officer.

What if I live with my landlord? 

If you live with your landlord then they won't need to get a court order before they can evict you. However, your landlord will still need to give you proper and reasonable notice that they want you to leave, they can not just kick you out.

Paying rent

I'm worried about paying my rent

Talk to your landlord if you're struggling to pay rent. 

You might be able to agree to a rent reduction or they might be willing to accept rent late. Get any agreement in writing. 

Buy to let landlords may get mortgage payment holidays if their tenants have financial problems due to coronavirus.

Help to pay your rent

If your income has been affected due to the virus, there are options to get help towards your rent.

You should look into claiming benefits and other financial support that is available as soon as you can.

If you already receive benefits and your income changes:

This will make sure you get what you’re entitled to as quickly as possible

You should also let your landlord know if you’re struggling to pay rent and discuss possible options with them.

Find out more on our dealing with rent arrears page.

Mortgage arrears

First thing you should do is claim on mortgage payment protection insurance if you have it.

The UK government announced on 17 March 2020 that mortgage lenders will allow payment breaks of 3 months for those struggling to meet payments.

Mortgage lenders have also announced they won't apply to court to repossess homeowners, including BTL mortgages, for 3 months starting from 19 March 2020.

Some mortgage providers are introducing other support for customers whose income is affected by the coronavirus outbreak. including:

  • no fees for late payments
  • reduced or deferred payments
  • switching to a lower interest rate

Speak to your lender to find out what support they’re offering.

Find out more on our page on mortgage arrears.

Claiming benefits

You can get help with your rent if you are on a low wage and your employer reduces your hours, if you lose your job or if you are self isolating.

Find out what you can claim at entitledto.

Claiming universal credit

You can apply for universal credit. Make your claim as soon as you can.

You can get an advance if you need rent money before your first universal credit payment.

Find out: 

Citizens Advice can help you with your application, call: 0800 023 2581 for help.

If you can’t use a computer you can apply online using a smartphone. A friend or family member may be able to help. 

You can also set up a claim over the phone if you can’t use a computer. Call the universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644

Repairs and landlord access

Can my letting agent/landlord still go ahead with visits and inspections? 

You should tell your agent/landlord if you don't want unnecessary visits to your home at this time. They should agree to postpone non essential visits such as: 

  • tenancy inspections 
  • viewings towards the end of your tenancy 

You should inform your agent/landlord if you can't allow access because you're self isolating. You don't have to give them any further details of your health. 

What if I need repairs or a gas safety check is due? 

Landlords have the same responsibilities for repairs during the coronavirus outbreak. You should still report repairs as soon as you can by phone, email or online. 

They might not be able to get the problem fixed during the usual timescales but shouldn't delay repairs unreasonably. 

Annual gas safety checks remain an important legal requirement. Your landlord should rearrange a gas safety check if you're self isolating.

Moving out

Can i move home during the lockdown period? 

The government's stay at home guidance makes it clear that people should stay in their homes for the duration of the lockdown period except in very limited circumstances. 

If you had plans to move during this time, you'll probably need to: 

  • postpone the move 
  • negotiate with both your old and new landlord regarding the start and end dates of both tenancies 

For example, if you've already signed a tenancy agreement, you could negotiate a new start date so you don't have to start paying rent before you can move. 

Landlords, agents and tenants will need to work together and show goodwill in order to comply with the public health guidance over the coming weeks.

Private residential tenancies

If you want to end the tenancy, then you will have to give the landlord 28 days notice  in writing. The notice has to state the day on which the tenancy is to end, normally the day after notice period has expired.

Find out more about private residential tenancies.

Short assured and assured tenancies

If you want to leave before the end of your tenancy, you will need to check your tenancy, It should state on your tenancy agreement whether you can do this and how much notice you have to give.

Even if this is not mentioned on the tenancy agreement, you may be able to come to an arrangement with your landlord.

Find out more about short assured tenancies and assured tenancies.

Common law tenancies

if you are a common law tenant (such as a tenant of purpose built student accommodation) you should check if there is a break clause in your tenancy agreement that allows you to leave the property early. If there isn't a break clause you will then need to negotiate with your landlord to see if they can leave your tenancy early.

Find out more about common law tenancies.

Tenants of Unite Students

Unite Students, a provider of purpose built student accommodation, has announced that they are going to allow students to cancel they accommodation if they are not intending to return for the summer term.

If you are a tenant of Unite Students you have until 10th April to inform them of your intention not to return.

Gas and electricity bills

Speak to your energy supplier if you're struggling financially or in arrears with gas or electricity bills. 

You could get support including: 

  • reduced bills or debt repayments 
  • a temporary break in your bills or debt arrangements 

If you have a pre payment meter they may be able to: 

  • arrange for someone else to top up your meter  
  • extend your emergency credit level
  • add credit to your account automatically 
  • send you a pre loaded top up card 

If someone else is going to top up your meter you will need to leave your meter box unlocked. 

Disconnections of pre payment meters have been suspended.

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