A couple outside their home

Coronavirus and tenant rights in Scotland 

Coronavirus has led to many people in Scotland losing their regular income. As jobs have vanished, people who previously had regular income now find themselves in a precarious position. Making sure you have enough money to pay the basics each month can be hard. Many are finding it to be impossible, and are struggling to be able to pay rent. 

The Scottish Government previously announced that tenants would be protected from eviction by landlords during the Coronavirus lockdown. This was initially until the 30th September 2020. This protection has now been extended to the 31 March 2021.

What are my rights as a tenant?

If you are wondering, “can I be evicted for not paying rent?”, then you are clearly worried about income. This has, unfortunately, become a pressing concern for many people throughout Scotland recently. 

When Coronavirus caused a lockdown throughout Scotland, it was made law that landlords could not evict anyone without first giving them six months’ notice. This is the case for everyone in both the private sector and social housing sector. The aim was to protect tenants who had fallen on tough times through losing income. Between February and June, Citizens Advice Scotland saw a major rise of 22% in people asking about housing information. This number rose to 35% for private sector tenants. 

There was a fear that one of the consequences of Covid-19 would be a dramatic rise in homelessness and destitution. This Scottish Act of Parliament was put in place to help avoid that and provide protection for tenants. So, your landlord cannot demand you move out immediately if you have missed any rent. 

A family at home

What should I do if I can’t pay my rent?

If you find yourself unable to pay rent, speak to your landlord as soon as possible. It may be that you are able to make an arrangement with them to reduce or defer rent for a set time. Many landlords are understanding about the current situation, so do not be afraid to ask. 

There is no automatic pause or cancellation of any rent you may be due, whether it is a private landlord or your local council. This means that unless you speak to your landlord or council, they will expect payment as usual. It might be tempting to cancel any direct debits, but this can cause further problems like a bad credit score. 

If you are struggling for money or have debt worries, you can find more information in our previous blog post. If you are having problems and can’t pay rent, you don’t need to struggle alone. During lockdown, Citizen’s Advice has spoken to over 2,000 people about redundancy concerns. As time goes on, further measures may be required to help people back on their feet so they can pay their rent again. 

Tenant rights in Scotland are not being forgotten at the moment, which is great news. If you want to chat about this, or any other aspect of money problems, get in touch with us today for a free and confidential chat.

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