New legislation brought in by the Scottish government provides much-needed protection from landlords chasing for payment of rent, with new rules delaying their ability to take eviction proceedings.
The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill 2020 now means that unless your landlord is moving into the property, or they wish to evict on the basis of criminal or anti-social behaviour, proceedings cannot commence for six months.
This timescale starts for eviction notices made on or after 7th April 2020, and the time period may be extended further depending on the situation when this initial six month period ends. So what should you do if you can’t afford your rent due to the coronavirus crisis, and your landlord is pursuing you for payment?
You have the right to remain in your home without fear of eviction for six months, even if you fall behind with your rent payments. This minimum term for providing notice of eviction should help you financially, but also offers reassurance that you won’t lose your home during this worrying time.
If you can’t pay your rent in full you should contact your landlord as soon as possible to discuss a repayment plan if you can afford to pay a smaller amount. If they continue to chase you for rent when they’ve been advised of the situation, you should make it clear that you understand your rights and that they can’t evict you for at least six months.
But what steps can you take to improve your financial situation during the coronavirus crisis?
If you’re eligible to claim Universal Credit, your payment may contain an element to help with housing costs. Additionally, a Discretionary Housing Payment could be available if you can’t pay your rent, even if you’re claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefit.
In this case you’ll need to contact your local authority to find out if you’re eligible. The Scottish Welfare fund also offers discretionary grants to people who are struggling to pay their bills.
If you owe other debts in addition to your rent, a range of debt remedies exist in Scotland that could help. One example is the government backed Debt Arrangement Scheme, or DAS, which protects you from legal action by your landlord and other creditors.
Although the new legislation provides vital protection against eviction if your landlord is chasing you for rent, professional guidance can also help you decide on the best way forward - whether that’s entering a formal debt procedure or simply supporting you in communications with your landlord.
If you’re finding it difficult to pay your rent during the coronavirus crisis, our experts at Scotland Debt Solutions can help. We’re debt specialists and can guide you towards the most effective options to escape your current situation. Please contact one of the team for a same-day consultation free-of-charge.
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