Renting and your rights during coronavirus if you have a social landlord

Last updated: 8 July 2020

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 for up to 6 months, where a landlord issues a notice on or after 7 April 2020.

This law temporarily extends the amount of notice landlords must give before beginning the process of ending a tenancy. In most cases landlords will now need to give tenants 6 months' notice, unless they are ending the tenancy for certain reasons, such as:

  • antisocial and criminal behaviour
  • where the tenant has abandoned the property

Ministers can extend the temporary period these changes are in place, if that is needed.

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.

It's likely that many tenants who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus will be eligible for some financial support at this time. You should check what help you can get. You may be able to claim Universal Credit, Discretionary Housing Payment or get help from a local council through the Scottish Welfare Fund. Citizen's Advice Scotland has information and advice on financial support available 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.

Find out your rights if you have a Scottish secure tenancy agreement and your landlord has told you they are going to take action to evict you.

Some tenants have a short Scottish secure tenancy agreement.

Find out your rights if you have a short Scottish secure tenancy agreement and your landlord has told you they are going to take action to evict you.

You may wish to get help and advice if your landlord is trying to evict you.

Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service

During coronavirus, the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service has issued an announcement that all court business has been postponed for the time being. 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.

For further information including advice on property access and repairs, read the letter to social housing tenants from the Scottish Government's Housing Minister on gov.scot.

Guidance on social (physical) distancing in different languages

The UK Government has released some translations of their guidance on coronavirus and social (physical) distancing in several different languages. You may find these helpful: