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Rent and your rights during Coronavirus - 14 April 2020

Renting and your rights during coronavirus if you have a social landlord - 14 April 2020

New protection for tenants

The Scottish Government has now passed an emergency law to protect renters in Scotland during coronavirus.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 protects tenants from eviction for up to 6 months, where a landlord issues a notice on or after 7 April 2020

This law temporarily extends the amount of notice landlords must give before beginning the process of ending a tenancy. In most cases landlords will now need to give tenants 6 months' notice, unless they are ending the tenancy for certain reasons. This includes antisocial and criminal behaviour and where the tenant has abandoned the property.

Ministers can extend the temporary period these changes are in place, if that is needed.

If you're experiencing financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus

If you are able to pay rent as normal you must continue to do so. If you are unable to pay the full amount, you should pay as much of your rent as you can.

It's likely that many tenants who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus will be eligible for some financial support at this time. You should check what help you can get. You may be able to claim Universal Credit, Discretionary Housing Payment or get help from a local council through the Scottish Welfare Fund. Citizen's Advice Scotland has information and advice on financial support available if you are experiencing financial difficulties because of coronavirus.

The Scottish Government has also called on all social sector landlords (councils, housing associations and housing co-ops) not to evict a tenant because they have suffered financial hardship due to coronavirus. We expect landlords to be flexible with tenants facing financial hardship and signpost them to the sources of financial support available.

If you think that you may still have problems paying your rent even with these sources of support, you should speak to your landlord about this as soon as possible.

If your landlord issues you with a 'Notice of Recovery of Possession', it's important to know your rights.

Most tenants in social rented housing have a Scottish secure tenancy agreement.

Find out your rights if you have a Scottish secure tenancy agreement and your landlord has told you they are going to take action to evict you.

Some tenants have a short Scottish secure tenancy agreement.

Find out your rights if you have a short Scottish secure tenancy agreement and your landlord has told you they are going to take action to evict you.

You may wish to get help and advice if your landlord is trying to evict you.

Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service

During coronavirus, the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service has issued an announcement that all court business has been postponed for the time being. You should check the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service website for updates on the current situation.

If you need to move for another reason

We are discouraging any unnecessary movement of people where possible. We also advise that, where possible, moves should be delayed. All parties involved in the move should seek to agree to delay a move.

However, we understand that it may not be possible to delay some moves during this period, particularly where someone may be at risk of becoming homeless or may be put at risk by not being able to access alternative accommodation, or where a move is necessary so that key workers can be where they are needed.

Where a move cannot be avoided, care should be taken to follow the latest social distancing and hygiene guidance. Face-to-face contact should be limited where possible. In cases where face-to-face contact is necessary, distancing measures should be carried out by all parties – keep a distance of two meters between anybody who is not from the same household.

Where an individual or family is self-isolating or where a vulnerable person is shielding, moves should not take place unless needed for urgent health and safety reasons.

Guidance on social distancing in different languages

The UK Government has released some translations of their guidance on coronavirus and social distancing in several different languages. You may find these helpful:

·       Guidance on Social Distancing and for Vulnerable People

·     Stay at Home Guidance

 

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