New protection for tenants
The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 is an emergency law to protect renters in Scotland during coronavirus.
The law protects tenants from eviction, where a landlord issues a notice on or after 7 April 2020.
Before a landlord can start legal proceedings to evict, they must give the tenant notice. In most cases, the temporary law means landlords must give you at least 6 months' notice to end a tenancy.
For some cases it is 28 days. Those cases must use one of these reasons:
- you have a relevant criminal conviction
- you have engaged in relevant antisocial behaviour
- someone that you chose to spend time with in the rented property has a relevant criminal conviction or has engaged in relevant antisocial behaviour
- you are no longer living at the rented property
The law ends on 31 March 2021. Ministers can extend the temporary period these changes are in place, if that is needed.
Temporary ban on the enforcement of eviction orders
Before 22 January 2021
There's a temporary ban on enforcing eviction orders in Scotland. Sheriff Officers cannot evict you from your social rented home before 22 January 2021.
There are exceptions for reasons related to either:
- serious antisocial behaviour
- criminal behaviour including domestic abuse
From 22 January 2021
If you live in an area under either coronavirus protection level 3 or 4, Sheriff Officers cannot evict you before 31 March 2021.
The same exemptions for antisocial or criminal behaviour apply.
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.
You may be able to get financial support, such as:
- Universal Credit
- Discretionary Housing Payment
- help from a local council through the Scottish Welfare Fund
- help with arrears, or up to 3 months future rent, through a loan from the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund
Citizen's Advice Scotland has information and advice 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.
Some tenants have a short Scottish secure tenancy agreement.
You may wish to get help and advice if your landlord is trying to evict you.
Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service
You should check the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service website for updates on the current situation.
If you need to move for another reason
House moves within the social rented sector resumed on 29 June 2020. It is up to each social landlord to decide which allocations and house moves can go ahead. Decisions should take into account the:
- safety of all the processes involved
- need of physical distancing
- arrangements needed to move house
For advice on moving safely, you can read the moving home during coronavirus guidance on gov.scot.
With any move, care should be taken to follow the latest physical 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 metres 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.
If you need advice on moving home or want to discuss your current housing situation you should contact your landlord. They will be able to advise you on all your housing options.