The Scottish Government continues to work with a range of stakeholders in the private rented sector, providing guidance to landlords and letting agents and offering support to tenants who have been impacted by coronavirus and are struggling to pay their rent. Here is their latest update for mydeposits customers.
Information and advice for private rented tenants?
Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning will in early August be writing to all private rented properties in Scotland, in order to highlight the measures that have been put in place to protect tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic and to inform them of the range of financial support that is available, should they be struggling to pay their rent. The Government would be grateful if landlords could highlight this important information to your tenants. It is important that landlords encourage their tenants to contact them as soon possible if they are, or think they will be, in financial difficulty and unable to pay their rent.
Tenants affected by coronavirus who are concerned about paying their rent can claim Universal Credit from the Department for Work and Pensions which includes support for housing costs, if eligible. The UK Government has introduced some temporary changes to make this easier.
The Scottish Government has put together information and sources of support for tenants in the private rented sector during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Private Landlord Pre-Action Protocols
As part of the response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Scottish Government has made grounds for repossession discretionary, including those for rent arrears, meaning the Tribunal can consider the reasonableness of granting an eviction during the pandemic. To support this, the introduction of temporary pre-action requirements that private rented sector landlords would need to comply with prior to seeking to end assured, short assured and private residential tenancies for rent arrears is being progressed. Compliance with the pre-action requirements would be taken account of by the Tribunal when they consider cases where the rent arrears have occurred during the pandemic.
To keep up to date with the latest advice for landlords, please visit the Scottish Government website at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-landlord-and-letting-agent-faqs/. The guidance was updated on 10 July 2020 to reflect the move to Phase 3 of the Scottish Government Route Map for moving through and out of the coronavirus crisis.