Negotiating a rent reduction during the coronavirus outbreak

If you can afford to pay your rent, you should keep paying it.

There is no rent holiday and no ban on evictions in Scotland. If you can't afford your rent then you should write to your landlord. You can use our template letter below. 

Legally you still owe rent, but your landlord may be willing to come to an arrangement.

Your message should explain:

  • your payment proposal

  • why you are struggling with rent

  • what you are doing to address your situation

Keep a record of any agreement you come to.

Remember, you will also need to agree whether you will pay back the arrears later on or not.

How to write to your landlord

Start the letter with:

  • I'm writing to notify you of a change in my income due to the coronavirus outbreak. I've checked Shelter Scotland's website and am following their advice to negotiate a payment adjustment for my rent due on [date/month].

  • The Scottish Government and Scottish Association of Landlords are asking landlords to show understanding and compassion. And where possible to allow additional time to pay the rent and agree on alternative payment plans.

Your payment proposal

Think about a realistic proposition. For example, if you still have some income, you could propose to pay half your rent.

I'm proposing to:

  • not pay rent this month and review the situation next month

  • pay a reduced rent for one month of [include the amount here]

You should adjust these points to reflect your position.

Why you are struggling with rent

Explain your current situation:

Because of the coronavirus outbreak

  • I've lost my job

  • I'm on reduced pay

  • I can't continue with my self-employed work

Add details that are relevant and explain the situation in full.

What you are doing about it

Explain what you're doing to try and increase your income or if you expect a change in circumstances:

  • I've applied for benefits and am waiting for my first payment

  • I'm actively seeking new work

Include important details:

  • I've applied for universal credit and am waiting for my first payment. I understand that I will receive this in five weeks. I may be able to adjust my rent payments depending on how much I receive.

If you are self employed:

  • I've applied to the government's Self-employment Income Support Scheme, and I may be able to adjust my rent payments depending on how much I receive.

If you are furloughed:

  • I am on the government's Job Retention Scheme. I will be able to pay off my rent arrears when I return to my full income. I will be touch with you when my income changes to arrange a repayment plan.

You can update your landlord on the situation later if you do not go back to full pay.

Keeping in touch

Explain that you will keep your landlord up to date on your situation and that you are willing to negotiate future rent payments.

Say something like:

  • I look forward to hearing your response and will keep you regularly updated on any changes to my situation. I will be in contact next month to discuss future rent payments.

Ending the letter

Say something like:

  • I do appreciate this is a difficult situation for both of us and I hope that we can work together to come to an arrangement.

Use our template letter tool

You need to complete your own details in the sections marked red. You should delete or change parts marked with an *

Download template letter

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Last updated: 15 October 2020

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England