Rent Arrears, Eviction and Covid 19

What if you cannot pay your Rent?

If during the Covid 19 Crisis you are struggling to pay your rent. regardless of whether your landlord is a private landlord or registered social landlord (housing association), you should complete a benefit check.

It may be you are entitled to extra money to help you with your rent from Universal Credit.  This may be the case, even if you are working, self-employed, or a furloughed employee, or in receipt of other benefits such as Statutory Sick Pay and New Style Job Seekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowance. 

Discretionary Housing Payments

Even if the help your are entitled to is not enough to pay your rent in full, in the case of a Private Tenancy, you may be entitled to some additional help from your local authority. Scottish Local Authorities have a special fund they can use to help people with shortfall with their rent, known as Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP). You should visit your local authority’s website to find out more about how you apply for a Discretionary Housng Payment.  

Speak with your Landlord

The next thing you should do is speak with your landlord.  Let them know you are experiencing problems and let them know you  are applying for help with your housing costs.

Most landlords should be prepared to work with you at this time, as the Scottish Parliament has passed legislation that will require any landlord who wants to evict you for rent arrears, to give you six months notice that they intend to raise an action.

Evictions

Even if a landlord does give you the proper notice of his intention to raise an action in the Sheriff Court (registered social landlords), or in the The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) (private landords), there is no guarantee the Court or Tribunal will agree to an eviction.

Both are unlikely to deal with any eviction cases until June 2020 for Rent Arrears.

This, however, should not be misunderstood as meaning you cannot be evicted. If your landlord does raise an eviction action against you, it will look more favorable for you if you apply for benefits and try and work with your landlord.

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