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Paying 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.

Use our template letter tool to help negotiate a rent reduction.

For more help with rent arrears visit our dealing with rent arrears page.

Can I stop paying rent? 

There is no rent holiday or break for renters. You can only pause or reduce your rent payments if your landlord agrees.

Buy to let landlords may get mortgage payment holidays if their tenants have financial problems due to coronavirus, but this won’t always be possible.

New 'pre-action requirements' for private sector rent arrears

From 30 September 2020, if you live in a private tenancy and the landlord wants to evict you because of rent arrears they have to follow a set of pre-action requirements before they can start eviction action.

This applies to rent arrears cases for private residential tenancies, assured tenancies and short assured tenancies, where:

  • some or all of the arrears accrued after 7 April 2020 AND
  • the landlord applies to the tribunal on or after 6 October 2020

Your landlord must follow these steps before they can start a rent arrears eviction action:

  • give you clear information
    • about the terms of your tenancy agreement,
    • the amount of rent you owe,
    • your rights in the eviction action (including information about the pre-action requirements)
    • tell you how you can access information and advice on financial support and debt management
  • In addition, your landlord must make ‘reasonable efforts’ to agree a repayment plan.
  • Your landlord must also take reasonable consideration of:
    • Any steps you’ve taken which might affect your ability to repay the arrears within a reasonable period of time
    • The extent to which you’ve complied with any repayment agreement
    • Any changes your circumstances which are likely to impact on you complying with a repayment agreement.

If you landlord applies to evict you due to rent arrears and you think they have missed any of these steps then you should tell the tribunal this at the hearing. The tribunal need to take this into consideration when deciding whether to grant an eviction order.

If your landlord is evicting you and you need help with this speak with an adviser or contact a solicitor.

Practical steps you can take

If you are in rent arrears it’s really important to try and resolve the situation if you can.  

  • Speak to your landlord
  • Get advice on any benefits you might be entitled to, for example contact Citizen's Advice Scotland
  • Keep copies of any letters/emails between you and your landlord
  • If notice has been served keep a copy of this note any key dates
  • Be careful about agreeing to make repayments unless you are sure you can keep to them. If you’re not sure, speak to someone about Money Advice
  • Keep any evidence of steps you’ve taken to tackle the arrears, for example note dates of when you have spoken to your landlord or if you asked for help from money advice services
  • Make a note of any benefits you’ve applied for including the date you made the claim
  • Think about whether there have been any changes of circumstances, these could be changes in employment or health of yourself or other household members

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're in England

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