Guide

Renting and your rights during coronavirus if you have a private landlord
Last updated: 13 October 2020

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

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

A loan to cover rent arrears is available for landlords who need it. Some landlords may get a mortgage holiday. Landlords should read the coronavirus guidance for private landlords and letting agents on gov.scot.

Coronavirus is causing some tenants to have financial difficulties.

You may be able to get financial support, such as:

Citizen's Advice Scotland has information and advice if you are experiencing financial difficulties because of coronavirus.

The Scottish Government asks all landlords not to evict a tenant because of financial hardship from coronavirus. We expect landlords to be flexible with tenants and to 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 (or letting agent) about this as soon as possible.

Pausing rent or getting a reduction

There is no automatic rent holiday or break for tenants.

Landlords may agree to reduce or pause rent. Your landlord may agree to write off the lost rent or expect you to pay them back later. Read the advice on negotiating a rent reduction during coronavirus from Shelter Scotland.

Get any rent reduction or pause agreement between you and your landlord in writing.

If you stop paying your rent without an agreement, your landlord may use this as a reason to evict you.

If your landlord wants to put your rent up

A landlord can increase your rent once every 12 months if you have a Private Residential Tenancy. Your landlord must both:

  • give you at least three months' written notice before the first higher payment is due
  • use the correct form to let you know that they plan to increase your rent

If you think the rent increase is too high, you can apply for a rent adjudication with Rent Service Scotland.

Find out about other tenancy types if your landlord increases the rent.

Other advice and support

Shelter Scotland can give advice and support to help with rent arrears during coronavirus. You can also talk to them online if you have any questions.

Call their helpline in an emergency such as homelessness or illegal eviction on 0808 800 444.

You should also check if you can get any council tax reduction or exemption.

If you have children, you may be able to get free school meals.

Read the coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for private tenants sent to all let properties in August 2020 on gov.scot.