Scottish housing advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)
Paying rent during the pandemic
If you have accrued any arrears on your rent you can access advice on steps to take. It is important to act quickly when you have rent arrears so that your landlord does not try to evict you.
See the Help with rent arrears pages for advice on what you can do.
Check if you're entitled to any benefits
How to check if you're entitled to benefits
Turn to Us has an online benefit calculator. You can use this to check if you are entitled to any extra money. It can be useful to have information with you about any money you have coming into your household already and what your monthly rent payments are before you use this tool.
Scotland’s Financial Health Service Advice offers lots of useful information about money and finances and has helpful links to services by council area.
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 for an eviction hearing 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 on:
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)
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 to your circumstances that are likely to impact your ability to comply with a repayment agreement
If your 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.
The Scottish Government introduced certain protections from eviction as a response to the pandemic, however it is important to know that landlords can still serve notice and obtain orders for eviction either at:
the sheriff court, if you rent from the council or a housing association, or
the Housing and Property Chamber (the tribunal), if you are a private tenant
Because of the 'eviction ban' sheriff officers must not however enforce these eviction orders in most cases:
in level 3 or 4 Tier areas
from 23 January 2021 – 31 March 2021
from 31 March the Scottish Government will review the ban every 21 days
There are some exceptions to the ban. For example, if the eviction was granted due to criminal or antisocial behaviour, then the eviction may still go ahead.
Some areas of Scotland are expected to move into Tier 2 on 17 May 2021, meaning that eviction enforcement action could begin again. The Scottish Government have a postcode checker to use if you're not sure what Tier your area is in.
Last updated: 4 May 2021