Housing during coronavirus
Last updated: 28/04/2020
This section has information on rent and rent arrears and mortgage arrears.
Rent and rent arrears
Many housing associations put up rents in April. If you are on Universal Credit update your journal to let the DWP know about any rent increase. If you don’t tell them until your next assessment date you may lose the amount of the increase for this month. If you are on Housing Benefit, update your council for your housing benefit.
Talk to your landlord if you’re struggling to pay rent. You might be able to agree to a rent reduction or they might be willing to accept rent late. Get any agreement in writing. Landlords are much more likely to be sympathetic if they know that you are trying to resolve the matter. If your landlord doesn’t offer to be flexible with your rent payments, it’s a good idea to pay as much as you can afford and keep a record of what you discussed. Buy-to-let landlords may get mortgage payment holidays if their tenants have financial problems due to coronavirus.
If you have rent arrears, don’t ignore them! Contact your landlord to discuss how you will clear your arrears. If you are behind with your rent, your landlord will have grounds to start legal proceedings for eviction. On 7 April 2020 the Scottish Government brought in new rules to extend the notice period required to be given to tenants before landlords can start legal action to obtain an order for eviction. These new rules will be in place till 30 September 2020 in the first instance. The change in the length of notice depends on the type of tenancy and what ground is being used. Use Shelter’s Scotland’s tenancy checker if you are not sure what type of tenancy you have.
If you are already claiming housing benefit, but it does not cover all of your rent, you may be able to claim a discretionary housing payment to help with the difference, or even to help towards paying off the arrears. Find out more at Shelter Scotland.
Housing advice and the impact of coronavirus covering: eviction; moving home; paying rent; claiming benefits; mortgage arrears; repairs and landlord access; gas and electricity bills can be found here.
The UK government announced on 17 March 2020 that mortgage lenders will allow payment breaks of 3 months for those struggling to meet payments. Some mortgage providers are introducing other support for customers whose income is affected by the coronavirus outbreak. including: no fees for late payments; reduced or deferred payments; switching to a lower interest rate. Speak to your lender to find out what support they’re offering. Some banks, building societies and lenders have already announced what they will be doing to help people affected by coronavirus.
Council Tax Reduction
You may be able to pay less Council tax if your income has dropped or if you have started claiming benefits. Check whether you are entitled to a discount or a reduction.
If you think that you are entitled to a council tax reduction, contact your local council as soon as possible to make a claim.