Rent arrears - private tenant

 December 2017

Fact sheet no. 60 SCOT Rent arrears - private tenant

Extra advice:

private tenancies from 2 January 1989

The information in this fact sheet will help you if you started renting your home from a private landlord on or after 2 January 1989 and you have:

  • an assured tenancy; or
  • a short assured tenancy; or
  • a new private residential tenancy.

Some private tenancies have special rules which are different to the rules in this fact sheet. You can get more information about these kinds of tenancy on Shelter Scotland’s website. If you have one of these different kinds of tenancy and you need help, contact Shelter Scotland on 0808 800 4444.

Information:

private tenancies before 2 January 1989

The information in this fact sheet does not apply to you if:

  • you rent your home from a private landlord; and
  • you started your tenancy agreement before 2 January 1989; and
  • your tenancy agreement has not changed.

If that is the case, you will find the information that you need in our Rent arrears – social housing fact sheet. The rules for council housing and housing association housing are similar to the rules for these older private tenancies. Contact us for a copy.

This fact sheet will give you practical information and advice if you are behind on your rent and you live in privately-rented property. It will explain your options, and the processes your landlord must follow. It does not cover commercially-rented properties with a business lease.

Use this fact sheet to:

  • find out how your tenancy works;
  • find out if there is any help you can get with your rent;
  • help you negotiate with your landlord about your rent arrears; and
  • get advice about dealing with action in the Housing and Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland ( in this fact sheet we call this ‘the Tribunal’).

If you think you may lose your home in the near future, contact your local council to make a homeless application. You can get help from the council if you are likely to become homeless in the next two months.

This fact sheet is split into four parts.

Everyone should read Part One. This part describes help that you may be able to get with the payment of your rent. Which one of the next two parts you need to read will depend on what kind of tenancy agreement you have.

Go to Part Two if:

  • you rent your home from a private landlord; and
  • you started your current tenancy on or after 2 January 1989, but before 1 December 2017; and
  • your tenancy agreement has not been changed.

Go to Part Three if:

  • you rent your home from a private landlord and you started your current tenancy on or after 1 December 2017.

Everyone should read Part Four. This part has Useful contacts to help you find organisations which might be able to help you.

Part One

Help with rent payments

Extra advice:

Housing Benefit or Universal Credit

You might get help with the payment of your rent from either Housing Benefit or from Universal Credit. See either the Housing Benefit or Universal Credit section for more information. If you aren’t able to claim Universal Credit, you need to make a claim for Housing Benefit. If you are able to claim Universal Credit, the amount of your rent payment you get help with, called the ‘housing costs element’, forms part of your Universal Credit award. In Scotland, you can choose where the housing costs element is paid. You can ask that it is paid either to your landlord or paid to you.

Housing Benefit

Rent arrears can often build up when you don’t claim all the benefits to which you are entitled. Claiming Housing Benefit can reduce the amount of rent you have to pay.

  • To find out how much you might get, contact Shelter Scotland or a local advice agency. See Useful contacts at the end of this fact sheet or use the Turn2us Benefit Calculator.
  • To make a claim, ask your council’s Housing Benefit office for a form. You can also get information online at www.gov.uk.
  • When you make a claim, keep a copy of your claim form and any letters you send or receive.
  • Pay as much as you can towards your rent until your benefit comes through.
  • Tell your landlord you have made a claim for Housing Benefit.

Universal Credit

Full service and live service areas

Universal Credit replaces benefits such as Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. Depending on where you live, you may be in a full or live service area for Universal Credit.

In a full service area, most claimants can apply for Universal Credit through the online system. To apply online, go to the GOV.UK website and search using the words Universal Credit. Alternatively, type the website address www.gov.uk/universal-credit into your browser. However, if you have three children or more in your household, you will not be able to apply for Universal Credit until 1 February 2019. Instead, you can apply for Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.

If you live in a live service area, you have to meet particular rules, called gateway conditions, to be able to apply for Universal Credit. If you do not meet the gateway conditions in a live service area, you can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.

Extra advice:

direct payment to your landlord

From 4 October 2017 in Scotland, if you are a new claimant of Universal Credit and living in a full service area, you can ask for your housing costs element to be paid directly to your landlord. The Scottish Government website page Universal Credit: information for new applicants has more information about how to do this at any time during your claim for Universal Credit. People who have claimed Universal Credit in Scotland before 4 October 2017 may be able to use this option at some point in 2018. Check the Scottish Government website page Universal Credit: information for new applicants for updates.

You may be moved onto Universal Credit from a benefit you are already getting. People will be moved onto Universal Credit at different times. It will be paid directly to you, and includes help with your rent, called the ‘housing costs element’. You will need to use part of your Universal Credit to pay your rent, unless you ask for the housing costs element to be paid directly to your landlord. Contact us for advice.

18 to 21 year olds and Universal Credit

People who are aged 18 to 21 will not normally be entitled to the housing costs element of Universal Credit if they are claiming as a single person and are able to work, although there are some exceptions. Contact us for advice.

The Scottish Government has said that it will replace the housing costs element for those affected by payments from the Scottish Welfare Fund. 18 to 21 year olds who are affected should contact their local council to claim their top-up payment from the Scottish Welfare Fund.

If you are under 35 years old

If you are under the age of 35 and you do not live with your partner or dependents such as children, you may only get enough Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs element to pay for a single room with shared use of a living room, kitchen and bathroom. This rule only applies if you rent from a private landlord. There are some situations in which this rule will not apply to you, for example, if you live in a certain type of hostel. Ask Shelter Scotland if you are not sure whether this rule is affecting the amount of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you get.

The ‘benefit cap’

The Government has introduced a ‘benefit cap’. This means there is a limit on how much you can receive in benefits if you and your partner are of working age but not working. You won't usually be affected by the benefit cap if you are over Pension Credit age. The cap applies if your combined income from certain benefits is over a set limit, and means that the amount of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you receive may be reduced. You will have to either make up the difference in rent yourself, or move somewhere cheaper. The cap will not apply if anyone in your household receives particular disability-related benefits or some other benefits. Also, it may not apply if you have childcare costs when receiving Universal Credit. Contact us for advice.

Local Housing Allowance

Information:

no LHA

Currently, the LHA rules will not apply if:

  • you are a council tenant;
  • your private tenancy started before 2 January 1989; or
  • you rent from a housing association.

If you were claiming Housing Benefit before 7 April 2008, LHA only applies after this date if:

  • you move house;
  • you make a new claim for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit; or
  • you became a private tenant on or after 7 April 2008.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the way that Housing Benefit (or the housing element of Universal Credit) is calculated. LHA rules generally apply to private tenants, although they can apply to other kinds of tenants in particular situations. Contact us for advice.

LHA means that you will only get a certain amount of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, even if the rent on your home is higher. If this happens, you will have to pay the difference to stop rent arrears building up. The amount of LHA is worked out by a rent officer, using information about the cost of renting in your local area and the type of property you live in.

Under LHA rules, your benefit will be paid directly to you, so that you can pay the rent to your landlord. However, if you are paying off rent arrears directly from your benefit (for example, Income Support), the council will pay your landlord directly. In some other circumstances the council may also agree to pay your landlord directly. Ask your council or contact us for advice.

You can find a table showing the levels of Local Housing Allowance for each region on the Scottish Government’s website, www.gov.scot.

If you are not receiving the amount of housing benefit that you think you should be, other rules may apply. This is a complex area. Check your situation with your council or contact Shelter Scotland. See Useful contacts for details.

Part Two

Extra advice:

the Tribunal

From 1 December 2017, the Tribunal has taken on responsibility for most of the rent proceedings that used to happen in the sheriff court. New proceedings started on or after 1 December 2017 for private tenancies are now dealt with by the Tribunal.

Information:

sheriff court action

Your landlord can only take action to possess your home in the sheriff court if they began proceedings before 1 December 2017. If they are seeking to take possession of your home on or after 1 December 2017, they can only take proceedings in the Tribunal.

You cannot be evicted for rent arrears without a Tribunal order if your tenancy began on or after 1 December 2017. If your landlord is threatening to do this, contact us for advice.

What type of tenancy do I have?

Information:

tenancy deposit

If you give a private landlord a tenancy deposit, they must register it with an approved deposit scheme provider. Your landlord should give you information about the scheme provider within 30 working days of the start of the tenancy. If not, you can apply to the Tribunal to make an order for payment. The Tribunal can order your landlord to pay you up to three times the amount of the deposit, and to pay the deposit into an approved scheme. You can either do this during your tenancy or within three months of the end of the tenancy. When the tenancy ends, either the tenant or the landlord can apply to the tenancy deposit scheme for the return of their deposit. See information on the mygov.scot website, Shelter Scotland or contact us for advice.

Short assured tenancies

Short assured tenancies last for a fixed time of at least six months and will have started between 2 January 1989 and 30 November 2017. Private landlords often used this type of tenancy because they can repossess the tenancy at the tenancy end date without having to prove any grounds. Before the tenancy began, your landlord must have given you a written notice (called an AT5 notice) informing you that you have a short assured tenancy.

Assured tenancies

Assured tenancies usually have no time limits, although some may last for a fixed time. If you have this kind of tenancy, it will have started between 2 January 1989 and 30 November 2017. Only private landlords were able to offer this type of tenancy. If you are not sure what tenancy you have, contact us for advice.

Private residential tenancy

If you started a new tenancy with a private landlord on or after 1 December 2017, you will usually have a private residential tenancy. This is a new kind of open-ended tenancy without a set end date. It has to have particular terms in the agreement. You can read more about this on the Scottish Government’s website page: Private residential tenancies: information for tenants. If you have this kind of tenancy, you need to use Part Three of this fact sheet because Part Two is not suitable for your kind of tenancy.

If you aren’t sure what kind of tenancy you have, you can find out on Shelter Scotland’s website or contact us for advice.

What can I do if my benefit does not pay all my rent?

Extra advice:

discretionary housing payment

If your benefit payment does not cover your full rent amount, you need to pay the difference to make up your full rent payment or you will build up arrears. Contact your local council to see if you can get a discretionary housing payment to make up your rent to the full amount. Contact us for advice.

  • You could ask your landlord if you could take in a lodger to help with the rent.  Get advice though, to see how this would affect your benefits, your tax position and your tenancy (which may have restrictions about having other people live with you).
  • If you are getting Housing Benefit, write to your local council asking them to review their decision about how much Housing Benefit they will pay. If you are not happy with their response, you can appeal against that decision to an independent benefit tribunal within one month of the review decision, but only if you think a mistake has been made. Contact us for advice.
  • If you are getting Universal Credit, you must apply for a mandatory reconsideration before you can appeal, normally within one month of the decision. If the reconsideration does not change the decision, you can appeal to an independent benefit tribunal within a month of the mandatory reconsideration decision if you think a mistake has been made. Contact us for advice.
  • Payments made directly to your landlord for the extra rent by friends, family, or a charity should not usually affect your benefits, but check if you are not sure. Contact your local council if you get Housing Benefit or contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if you get Universal Credit.

Getting rent paid

Housing Benefit

It can sometimes take several weeks for a Housing Benefit claim to be sorted out. If you are either an assured or a short assured tenant, it is very important that your Housing Benefit is paid quickly because if you have at least three months’ rent arrears and your landlord takes you to the Tribunal, the Tribunal cannot allow you to stay in your home.

The council should start paying your Housing Benefit within 14 days. So, if your claim has been delayed, ask for a payment on account, sometimes called an interim payment. You should get a payment on account unless you haven’t given all the information asked for to deal with your claim.

You will normally receive your Housing Benefit directly. This means that you are then responsible for paying it to your landlord to keep your rent up to date.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit takes six weeks from claim to payment (this reduces to five weeks from 1 February 2018), sometimes longer. If you are either an assured or a short assured tenant, it is very important that your rent arrears do not rise quickly. If you have at least three months’ rent arrears and your landlord takes you to the Tribunal, the Tribunal cannot allow you to stay in your home.

The DWP should start paying the housing costs element of your Universal Credit within six weeks (this reduces to five weeks from 1 February 2018). So, if your claim has been delayed, ask for a short-term advance payment on account. You should get a payment on account unless you haven’t given all the information asked for to deal with your claim. Contact us for advice.

You will normally receive your Universal Credit directly. This means that you are then responsible for paying it to your landlord to keep your rent up to date. You may be able to ask for your housing costs element of Universal Credit to be paid directly to your landlord. You can get more information about how to do this on the Scottish Government website page: Universal Credit: information for new applicants. Contact us for advice.

Rent increases

  • With assured and short assured tenancies there is no fixed limit on the rent. If your landlord increases it, and you have an assured tenancy, you may be able to refer the rent increase to the Tribunal for its decision. Your landlord will send you an AT2 form to notify you of the proposed increase to your rent. If you want to refer the increase in your rent to the Tribunal, you will need to use an AT4 form.
  • Keep paying your old rent. Put money aside to pay the increase in case the Tribunal decides the new rent is correct.
  • Contact your local authority or the DWP immediately. Tell them that your landlord has increased your rent, but you have referred the increase to the Tribunal. Don’t wait until the Tribunal decides your appeal, or you may lose benefit. If you are not already claiming Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit, the increase in rent may mean that you will now qualify.

Appealing to the Tribunal can be complicated. Contact Shelter Scotland or contact us for advice.

Paying off my rent arrears

It is never too early or too late to come to an arrangement to repay your arrears. You may not be in arrears yet, or your landlord may have started Tribunal action. Whatever the situation, don’t delay. Contact your landlord as soon as possible.

Contact your local council if you are waiting for a Housing Benefit claim to be sorted out and this is making your rent arrears worse. Ask for a short-term benefit advance payment on account if you have been waiting more than 14 days. If you are waiting for your claim for Universal Credit to be sorted out and it is making your arrears worse, contact the DWP and ask for a short-term advance payment on account. Contact us for advice.

Have my rent arrears been worked out properly?

Get a breakdown of your rent account from your landlord. Check that all the payments you have made have been added to your account. Make sure that the rent arrears shown on your account are for unpaid rent and not put on the account for any other reason. Ask for regular statements and keep your receipts.

If Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs element is paid directly to your landlord and there has been an overpayment, the rules on whether or not an overpayment should be treated as rent arrears are complicated. Contact Shelter Scotland for advice on 0808 800 4444 or contact us for advice.

If you are not sure if your rent arrears include a Housing Benefit or Universal Credit overpayment, contact Shelter Scotland or contact us for advice.

Extra payments to clear the arrears

Information:

direct deduction from benefit

If you get Income Support, Pension Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Universal Credit, you can have a set amount taken out of your benefit and paid directly to your landlord for rent arrears. In some circumstances they can be paid from certain other benefits. The amount of the deduction that can be taken from your benefit for rent arrears varies, depending on whether it is deducted from Universal Credit or another kind of benefit. Contact us for advice.

  • Use Your budget to work out how much you can afford to pay each week month towards the arrears. Don’t be afraid to offer only a small amount if that is all you can afford.
  • Depending on what benefit you receive (Housing Benefit or Universal Credit), consider whether you can afford to pay by direct deduction. The deduction from your Universal Credit can be up to 20% of your standard allowance. The DWP should take account of your financial circumstances when deciding how much they will take. If the amount of the deduction is causing you hardship, contact us for advice.
  • Start paying the amount you have offered straight away. If you cannot afford to pay anything, contact us for advice.

My landlord refuses to accept my rent arrears offer

Extra advice:

no eviction without a Tribunal order

You cannot be evicted without a Tribunal order. If your landlord threatens to throw you out without going to the Tribunal, or harasses you to make you leave, they may be acting illegally. If this is happening to you, contact your local council. Ask for the person who deals with tenants who are being harassed. You could also contact the police.

Just because your landlord refuses your offer of payment, this does not mean you will automatically lose your home. If your landlord refuses to accept your offer:

  • start paying your rent immediately plus the amount you have offered off the arrears;
  • contact your landlord and use your budget to show that the amount you have offered is all you can afford;
  • keep a record of all payments and letters to and from your landlord; and
  • keep paying your rent and arrears payments.

If your landlord still takes action against you, you could seek help from:

Contact us for advice.

Renewing your short assured tenancy

Extra advice:

proceedings in the Tribunal

If you are a short assured tenant and your landlord starts action in the Tribunal because your tenancy has come to an end, then the Tribunal cannot allow you to stay in your home. However, your landlord may miss a time limit or make another technical mistake. If this applies to you, contact Shelter Scotland on 0808 800 4444 or see scotland.shelter.org.uk for more information.

If you have a short assured tenancy, your landlord does not have to renew your tenancy when it runs out. They are not likely to let you stay if you are behind with your rent.

You must try to come to an arrangement with your landlord and pay the amount you have offered off your arrears. If you pay regularly, your landlord may be willing to renew your tenancy.

See our fact sheet:

Homelessness.

Landlord ends the tenancy

Your landlord can start proceedings in the Tribunal to end your tenancy if:

  • you have any rent arrears; or
  • you have ‘persistently delayed’ paying your rent (for example, if your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit always arrives after the date the rent is due). You do not have to be in arrears when your landlord starts action for this reason.

If you have a short assured tenancy that has run out, see the previous section Renewing your short assured tenancy.

Before the Tribunal

These are the usual stages leading to action in the Tribunal.

  • The landlord will normally send a letter asking you to pay off the arrears. If you have not already contacted your landlord, do so now and try to reach an agreement. Keep paying your rent and the amount you have offered off the arrears. If you haven’t made an arrangement to pay off the arrears, some landlords may send a second letter or may get their solicitors to write to you.
  • Before landlords can take Tribunal action, they must end the contract by Issuing a Notice to Quit, in writing, in the correct form, giving at least four weeks’ notice. The notice to quit in effect just quits the contract, not the tenancy.  They will then issue a Notice of Proceedings (also known as a NOP or an AT6 ) indicating grounds for eviction.  Your landlord may send both these notices at the same time.
  • If your landlord applies for an order for possession, they must tell your local council. This may help you to get extra advice from your local council to deal with your situation.
  • Contact your landlord straight away and try to reach an agreement. Keep paying your rent and the amount you have offered off the arrears.

If you have three months' arrears

Extra advice:

three months' arrears

If your landlord goes to the Tribunal, and you still have at least three months' rent arrears at the date of the hearing, the Tribunal cannot allow you to make an arrangement to pay the arrears.

  • If you have at least three months' rent arrears, start paying your rent and something off the arrears immediately. The amount you pay must aim to reduce your arrears to less than three months' worth by the date of the Tribunal hearing. The Tribunal can choose whether it is reasonable or not to make an order for possession if you reduce your rent arrears to less than three months' worth.
  • If you are in arrears because your claim has been delayed, ask for a short-term benefit advance of Housing Benefit or ask for a short-term advance of Universal Credit. You should get a ‘payment on account’ unless you haven’t given all the information asked for to deal with your claim.
  • If you can’t start paying immediately or if you can’t reduce your arrears quickly enough, contact us for advice.

See our fact sheet:

Homelessness.

What if my landlord takes action for rent arrears?

Extra advice:

keep paying your rent

If you have arrears, it is important to start paying the amount you have offered. You can still come to an agreement with your landlord or their solicitor. If you can reach an agreement, the hearing date can be put off (continued) to give the agreement a chance to work. If your landlord says they can evict you without a Tribunal order, or is threatening you, contact us for advice.

If you have not been able to make an arrangement with your landlord and the time limit on the notice has run out, your landlord can ask the Tribunal to send you a summons. This will give you the date and the time for a hearing in the Tribunal.

Your landlord can start Tribunal action even if you have no rent arrears, but have had arrears in the past. This is known as persistent delay in paying your rent. However, your previous delays in paying rent would usually need to be quite serious before the Tribunal will give possession to your landlord.

  • Even if your landlord takes you to the Tribunal you will not lose your home on the date of the Tribunal hearing.
  • Keep paying your rent and the amount you have offered off the arrears. This shows the Tribunal that you are now able to pay.
  • Even if you have managed to clear your arrears by the date of the Tribunal hearing, the landlord can still go ahead with the action. So you must fill in the Tribunal papers and go to any Tribunal hearing. If you are in this situation, contact us for advice.

The Tribunal will send you a summons with a form called a statement of claim which sets out the landlord’s case for taking possession of your home. You will also get a form which you should fill in and return to the Tribunal. It is assumed that you will have received the form within 48 hours of when it was sent. You have 14 days to return the form, starting from when you should have received it.

Filling in the reply form

Read through the statement of claim. It should tell you:

  • the amount of the rent arrears;
  • details of any arrangements that you have made with your landlord to repay the arrears; and
  • information about your circumstances that your landlord is aware of, such as whether you receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

If you do not agree with any of the details, say so on the reply form, stating what you think is wrong and what the correct details are.

  • You are asked whether you can pay anything towards the arrears. Use Your budget to work out what you can afford to pay. If your landlord is asking for possession because you have at least three months’ rent arrears, remember it could be very important to reduce them to less than this by the date of the hearing.
  • If you cannot afford to pay anything off the arrears, contact us for advice.

Fill in the financial details. This will allow the Tribunal to see how you have worked out how much you can afford to pay towards the arrears. You may find it easier to attach a copy of your budget to the reply form. This is because the boxes on the reply form may not allow you to input all the figures from your income and outgoings.

You are asked for details about your bank account. If you have money in your account to pay business or household bills, do not include this amount on the form.

At the bottom of the form, there is a space for giving your side of the case. Be brief and accurate in what you write. If you are not in rent arrears now, but have been in the past, explain why you got into rent arrears and why you can now afford to pay your rent. If you are going to find it difficult to find somewhere else to live, explain why. If you expect an order for possession to be made, ask the Tribunal if you can be given extra time to find somewhere else to live.

The hearing

Remember:

no eviction at the hearing

You will not be evicted from your home on the day of the hearing.

You should go to the Tribunal hearing, even if you have no rent arrears or if you have already made an agreement with your landlord. If you attend, you are much more likely to be successful. If you do not attend, you are less likely to get what you want.

If you cannot go to the hearing because of illness or disability, write to the Tribunal to explain your circumstances and ask if a relative or friend can represent you. Don’t forget to include the case number in the letter. You will find this on the Tribunal form.

The purpose of the hearing is not to find anyone guilty or innocent, but to come to a fair decision for both sides. As long as your arrears are under three months’ worth, the Tribunal should consider any offer of payment you make on your rent arrears. If your arrears are for at least three months’ worth, and this is because of a problem with your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (such as a delay in it being paid), the Tribunal should take this into account.

Preparing for the Tribunal

  • Make short notes about what you want to say at the hearing. Take these with you and refer to them if you need to.
  • If your circumstances have changed since you filled in the form, work out a new budget. Take three copies of your budget with you (one for you, one for the tribunal and one for the landlord or their representative).
  • If English is not your first language, ask the Tribunal if you can take an interpreter with you.
  • Don’t be afraid to approach the landlord or their representative before the hearing to see if you can come to an agreement to present to the Tribunal. But don’t be pressed into offering more than you can afford. The Tribunal may agree with you and allow you to pay less than the landlord or their representative wants.

Orders the Tribunal might make

At the hearing, the chairing member will introduce any other Tribunal members present and explain the purpose of the hearing. You are allowed to have a legal representative such as a solicitor. You can also bring a supporter to the hearing, who can assist you. A supporter cannot address the Tribunal in the way a solicitor can, but they can:

  • give you moral support;
  • help you to manage any paperwork;
  • take notes for you; and
  • advise you without disturbing the hearing.

Answer questions clearly, calmly and fully. This will help the Tribunal make its decision. You have as much right to put your case forward as the landlord.

The Tribunal can make the following orders.

  • Dismiss your landlord’s action. The Tribunal may decide to do this if you have paid off all the arrears before the hearing date.
  • Continue (adjourn) the case to give you more time. This could be to provide extra information to support your case, or to pay off your arrears in full, for example by sorting out your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit claim.
  • Continue the case by agreement to allow repayment. This means that if you keep to the order (normally that you pay the rent plus a set amount off the arrears each week or month), the Tribunal will not allow your landlord to take possession of your home.
  • Make an order for possession of the property. This means that at the end of a set period (at least 28 days) your landlord can take the next step towards taking possession of your home. See the later section Eviction for rent arrears - what can I do? for more information.

What you should ask for

Extra advice:

three months' arrears

If you have at least three months’ rent arrears at the date of the hearing, the Tribunal cannot give you time to pay.

  • If you are not in arrears, ask the Tribunal to adjourn the hearing because you can now afford to pay your rent regularly.
  • If you are in arrears, ask the Tribunal to adjourn the hearing if you can pay all the arrears in a short space of time; for example, by sorting out your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit claim. The Tribunal may not be prepared to do this unless you can show you have exceptional circumstances.
  • If you cannot pay the arrears in a short time, and you agree that the amount of the arrears is correct, you should make an offer of repayment that you can afford.
  • If you are on Income Support, Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or on a low income, don't be afraid to offer a small amount if that is all you can afford. Use the amount that the DWP would take if they were making direct payments to the landlord as a guide. How much the DWP would take depends on whether your are getting Universal Credit or a different benefit. Contact us for advice.

Extra advice:

if you can't pay

If you are in arrears and at any time you find you cannot afford the amount which the Tribunal ordered, contact us for advice.

If the Tribunal thinks your offer is fair, they are likely to grant a continuation unless your arrears are at least three months’ worth. This means that as long as you keep paying the normal rent plus the amount ordered each week or month off the arrears, the landlord can take no further action. If your arrears are for at least three months’ worth, and this is because of a problem with your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (such as a delay in it being paid), the Tribunal should take this into account.

  • If the Tribunal will not accept your offer, they can make an order for you to be evicted at a future date. This is called an order for possession.

Recall

You may be able to apply to the Tribunal to ask for the recall of a decision that the Tribunal has made if:

  • you have not previously taken part, or
  • you have not attended or been represented in the hearing after which the decision was made.

You must apply to the Tribunal in writing and send a copy to your landlord at the same time. Send your letters so that they arrive within 14 days of the date of the decision. Further enforcement action must stop until the Tribunal makes the decision about your application. You are allowed to ask for a recall only once during a case. You could seek help from:

Your landlord can object within 10 days of receiving your letter by sending a statement of objection to the Tribunal. If they do, you should be sent a copy of their statement at the same time.

The Tribunal may:

  • grant the application and recall the decision;
  • refuse to recall the decision; or
  • order everyone involved to appear at a case-management discussion, where the Tribunal will consider whether to recall the decision.

Eviction for rent arrears - what can I do?

The Tribunal will not take action to evict you unless your landlord asks it to. Contact your landlord immediately if:

  • you have not kept up the payments under an agreement; or
  • the time given on an order for possession has run out.

Try to make an arrangement with them. If you cannot reach an agreement, your landlord can ask sheriff officers to evict you.

Sheriff officers

Before you are evicted, you will receive a letter, called a form of charge for removing. This tells you the date and time when the sheriff officers will come to evict you. You may be able to stop this, but you must act quickly. See the Shelter Scotland website page: Eviction by sheriff officers for more information.

Try and move out before the eviction date because the sheriff officers can force their way into your home if they have to. They might remove your possessions from the house.

After you have been evicted your landlord may:

  • ask you to pay the rent you still owe; and
  • ask you to pay for repairing any damage done to your home while you were renting it.

Returning the deposit

At the end of the tenancy, either the landlord or you can ask for the deposit to be returned from the scheme provider.

Your landlord should ask for the deposit to be returned, as soon as it is reasonable for them to have done so, after the end of the tenancy. They must tell the scheme provider how much they think you should get back and how much they think they should be paid. The scheme provider will contact you and ask you to confirm within 30 working days whether you agree with your landlord’s statement or not. If you do not dispute the amounts, you will be paid within five working days of the end of the 30-day confirmation period.

If you ask the scheme provider to return the deposit, you must tell the scheme provider how much you think you should get back and how much you think they should pay to the landlord. The scheme provider will contact your landlord and ask them to confirm within 30 working days whether they agree with your statement or not. As long as your landlord does not dispute your amounts, you will be paid within five working days of the end of the 30-day confirmation period. However, if your landlord makes an application during the 30-day confirmation period, the scheme provider will progress the landlord’s application and not yours.

If either you or your landlord disputes the amounts to be paid, you can use the free dispute resolution scheme and ask an adjudicator to resolve the matter. You don’t have to use the dispute resolution scheme if you want to resolve the matter between yourselves. However, if you want to use the dispute resolution scheme, the landlord must use it. Your landlord must prove that they have a claim to retain some or all of the deposit. If they cannot, the adjudicator must return the deposit to you. For more information see the Tenancy deposit (Tenants) page on mygov.scot website.

Getting rehoused

See our fact sheet:

Homelessness.

If you think you may lose your home, contact your local council to make a homeless application. You can get help from the council if you are likely to become homeless in the next two months. If the council determine that you meet all the homelessness criteria, they have a duty to offer you settled accommodation.  If you only meet some of the homelessness criteria, they will provide you with advice and assistance which may include the offer of temporary accommodation.

The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) and rent arrears

See our fact sheet:

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS).

A DAS debt payment programme is a special scheme to help you repay your debts at an affordable rate over a certain period. It provides protection from bankruptcy and diligence. This means that your landlord could still take possession action to evict you, despite the debt payment programme, if you are behind with your rent payments. However, having rent arrears included in a DAS may make possession of your home less likely.

If your landlord still takes action to take possession of your home, you can ask the Tribunal to take your debt payment programme into account when deciding what to do.

Part Three

Private residential tenancy

Extra advice:

the Tribunal

From 1 December 2017, the Tribunal has taken on responsibility for most of the rent proceedings that used to happen in the sheriff court. New proceedings started on or after 1 December 2017 for private tenancies are now dealt with by the Tribunal.

Information:

tenancy deposit

If you give a private landlord a tenancy deposit, the landlord must register the deposit with an approved deposit scheme provider. Your landlord must confirm that the deposit has been registered and should give you information about the scheme provider within 30 working days of the start of the tenancy. If this does not happen you can apply to the Tribunal to make an order for payment. The Tribunal can order your landlord to pay you up to three times the amount of the deposit, and to pay the deposit into an approved scheme. You can either do this during your tenancy or within three months of the end of the tenancy. See information on the mygov.scot website, Shelter Scotland or contact us for advice.

 

If you signed a new tenancy agreement with a private landlord on or after 1 December 2017, you will usually have a private residential tenancy. This is a new kind of open-ended tenancy without a set end date. It has to have particular terms in the agreement. You can read more about the details of this kind of tenancy on the Scottish Government’s website page: Private residential tenancies: information for tenants.

Some kinds of tenancies cannot be private residential tenancies. If you are not sure what kind of tenancy you have, you can find out on Shelter Scotland’s website or contact us for advice.

What can I do if my benefit does not pay all my rent?

  • Pay the extra rent yourself out of your income.
  • Consider whether to take in a lodger. But get advice first to see how this would affect your benefits, your tax position and your tenancy. You must get the permission of your landlord before you allow any other people to live at the property.
  • If you are getting Housing Benefit, write to your local council asking them to review their decision about how much Housing Benefit they will pay. If you are not happy with their response, you can appeal against that decision to an independent benefit tribunal within one month of the review decision, but only if you think a mistake has been made. However, you do not have to seek a review first: if you prefer, you can appeal directly to an independent benefit tribunal by writing to your local council within one month of the original decision, stating that you are appealing against the decision and explaining what you think is wrong. Contact us for advice.
  • If you are getting Universal Credit, you must apply for a mandatory reconsideration before you can appeal, normally within one month of the decision. If the reconsideration does not change the decision, you can appeal to an independent benefit tribunal within a month of the mandatory reconsideration decision if you think a mistake has been made.
  • Payments made directly to your landlord for the extra rent by friends, family, or a charity should not usually affect your benefits, but check if you are not sure. Contact your local council if you get Housing Benefit or contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if you get Universal Credit.
  • Councils can pay extra towards your rent from a limited fund. These payments are called discretionary housing payments. They will only help if you can show you will be in hardship due to exceptional circumstances. If the fund has no money left in it, the council can refuse to pay. Contact your council’s housing department and ask for a discretionary housing payment. You can ask the council to review their decision but there is no right of appeal.

Getting rent paid

Remember:

discretionary housing payment

If your benefit payment does not cover your full rent amount, you need to pay the difference to make up your full rent payment or you will build up arrears. Contact your local council to see if you can get a discretionary housing payment to make up your rent to the full amount. Contact us for advice.

Housing Benefit

It can sometimes take several weeks for a Housing Benefit claim to be sorted out. It is very important that your Housing Benefit is paid quickly because if you have not paid all of the rent or some of the rent which is due, for at least three months in a row, and your landlord takes you to the Tribunal, it may not be able to allow you to stay in your home.

The council should start paying your Housing Benefit within 14 days. If your claim has been delayed, ask for a payment on account, sometimes called an interim payment. You should get a payment on account unless you haven’t given all the information asked for to deal with your claim. Contact us for advice.

You will normally receive your Housing Benefit directly. This means that you are then responsible for paying it to your landlord to keep your rent up to date. Contact us for advice.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit takes six weeks from claim to payment (this reduces to five weeks from 1 February 2018), sometimes longer. It is very important that your rent arrears do not rise quickly. If you have not paid some, or all, of the rent which is due for at least three months in a row, the Tribunal may not be able to allow you to stay in your home.

The DWP should start paying the housing costs element of your Universal Credit within six weeks (this reduces to five weeks from 1 February 2018). So, if your claim has been delayed, ask for a short-term advance payment on account. You should get a payment on account unless you haven’t given all the information asked for to deal with your claim. Contact us for advice.

You will normally receive your Universal Credit directly. This means that you are then responsible for paying it to your landlord to keep your rent up to date. You may be able to ask for your housing costs element of Universal Credit to be paid directly to your landlord. You can get more information about how to do this on the Scottish Government website page: Universal Credit: information for new applicants. Contact us for advice.

Rent increases

Your landlord can only apply to put up your rent once a year. Before the rent can go up, you must be given an official notice called a rent-increase notice. This notice might be sent by email if your agreement allows for this. Any rent-increase notice must be given to you by the landlord at least three months before the date that the rent is due to go up. If you accept the rent increase, you should return Part 3 of the rent-increase notice to the landlord to tell them that.

If you receive a rent-increase notice and you think the rent is higher than for similar properties, you can ask a Rent Officer to decide whether the increase is fair. You must follow certain steps to ask the Rent Officer to make this decision and there is a 21-day time limit for this to be done. The time period begins 48 hours after the notice was sent and finishes 21 days later.

  • Return Part 3 of the rent-increase notice to the landlord to tell the landlord that you intend to ask the Rent Officer to decide whether the rent increase is fair.
  • Fill in a form called the Tenant's Rent Increase Referral to Rent Service Scotland under section 24 (1) of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016. You can get a copy on the Scottish Government website, or through Rent Service Scotland. See the Useful contacts section for more details.
  • Send the completed form to the Rent Officer.

If you do not follow these steps within the 21-day time limit, starting from when you received the rent-increase notice, you lose your right to challenge the rent increase and the rent will increase to the amount the landlord asked for.

You can also return Part 3 of the rent-increase notice to the landlord to say that you have not been given long enough notice of a rent increase, if less than three months' notice was given. If the landlord gives less than the three months' notice, then you will not need to pay the increased rent until three months have passed from when you received it.

Rent pressure zone

Extra advice:

rent pressure zone

If a local council thinks rents are rising too much in a certain area, they can apply to Scottish Ministers to have that area designated as a 'rent pressure zone'. This means a cap (a maximum limit) is set on how much rents are allowed to increase for existing tenants each year in that area. Contact your local council to find out if you are in a rent pressure zone.

If the property is in a rent pressure zone, you cannot go to a Rent Officer about the rent increase. This is because Scottish Ministers have already limited the amount by which the rent can be increased with a cap. As the landlord cannot usually increase the rent higher than the cap, you don't need to pay any rent above the cap. If your landlord tries to increase your rent above the cap, your options are to:

  • contact a free, independent money adviser to get further advice;
  • pay only the rent up to the limit of the cap as this is all the landlord can require under the terms of the agreement and cap; or
  • apply to the Tribunal to draw up the terms of the tenancy to make it clear what terms are in operation (since the terms of tenancy have changed because the rent has increased).

Once you have made up your mind, tell your landlord what you intend to do. If you apply to the Tribunal, you must give your landlord 28 days' notice.

If your landlord improves the property while you are in a rent pressure zone, they can apply for an additional increase to your rent. There is more information about this on the Scottish Government’s website page: Private residential tenancies: information for tenants.

Paying off my rent arrears

Information:

direct deduction from benefit

If you get Income Support, Pension Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or Universal Credit, you can have a set amount taken out of your benefit and paid directly to your landlord for rent arrears. In some circumstances they can be paid from certain other benefits. The  amount of the deduction that can be taken from your benefit for rent arrears varies, depending on whether it is deducted from Universal Credit or another kind of benefit. Contact us for advice.

It is never too early or too late to come to an arrangement to repay your arrears. You may not be in arrears yet, or your landlord may have started action in the Tribunal. Whatever the situation, don’t delay. Contact your landlord as soon as possible.

Contact your local council if you are waiting for a Housing Benefit claim to be sorted out and this is making your rent arrears worse. Ask for a payment on account, sometimes called an interim payment if you have been waiting more than 14 days. If you are waiting for your claim for Universal Credit to be sorted out and it is making your arrears worse, contact the DWP and ask for a short-term advance payment on account. Contact us for advice.

Have the rent arrears been worked out properly?

Get a breakdown of your rent account from your landlord. Check that all the payments you have made have been added to your account. Make sure that the rent arrears shown on your account are for unpaid rent and not put on the account for any other reason. Ask for regular statements and keep your receipts.

If Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs element is paid directly to your landlord and there has been an overpayment, the rules on whether or not an overpayment should be treated as rent arrears are complicated. Contact Shelter Scotland for advice on 0808 800 4444 or contact us for advice.

If you are not sure if your rent arrears include a Housing Benefit or Universal Credit overpayment, contact Shelter Scotland or contact us for advice.

Extra payments to clear the arrears

  • Use Your budget to work out how much you can afford to pay each week or month towards the arrears. Don’t be afraid to offer only a small amount if that is all you can afford.
  • Depending on what benefit you receive, consider whether you can afford to pay by direct deduction. The deduction from your Universal Credit can be up to 20% of your standard allowance. The DWP should take account of your financial circumstances when deciding how much they will take. If the amount of the deduction is causing you severe hardship, contact us for advice.
  • Start paying the amount you have offered straight away. If you cannot afford to pay anything, contact us for advice.

My landlord refuses to accept my rent arrears offer

Extra advice:

no eviction without a Tribunal order

You cannot be evicted without a Tribunal order. If your landlord threatens to throw you out without going to the Tribunal first, or harasses you to make you leave, they may be acting illegally. If this is happening to you, contact your local council. Ask for the person who deals with tenants who are being harassed. You could also contact the police.

Just because your landlord refuses your offer of payment, this does not mean you will automatically lose your home. If your landlord refuses to accept your offer:

  • start paying your rent immediately plus the amount you have offered off the arrears;
  • contact your landlord and use your budget to show what you can afford;
  • keep a record of all payments, and letters to and from your landlord; and
  • keep paying your rent and arrears payment.

If your landlord still takes action against you, contact us for advice.

Your landlord might make it difficult for you to pay, for example, by not calling for the rent so that your rent arrears increase. If this happens, contact us for advice.

Landlord ends the tenancy

Your landlord can only end your tenancy by using one of the 18 grounds for eviction. Some of these are mandatory, meaning that the Tribunal must grant eviction if the ground is proved. Some grounds are discretionary, meaning that the Tribunal can choose whether or not to grant the eviction order. When your landlord gives you notice to leave, they must tell you what eviction ground (or grounds) they are using and may provide evidence to support this. You can find information about all the different grounds for eviction on the Scottish Government’s website page: Private residential tenancies: information for tenants.

Rent arrears ground

The eviction ground for rent arrears can be mandatory in some circumstances and discretionary in others. This means that, if the Tribunal accepts that the ground is proved, then:

  • in some cases the Tribunal must issue the eviction order; but
  • in other cases, the Tribunal can choose whether or not to issue the eviction order.

The mandatory ground

This ground is mandatory and the Tribunal must issue the eviction order, if:

  • you have not paid some of the rent or all of the rent which is due, for at least three months in a row; and
  • on the first day that the issue comes before the Tribunal, an amount equal to at least one month's rent remains unpaid; and
  • the Tribunal is satisfied that the reason for you not paying the rent is not a delay or failure in the payment of some benefits, including Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

The discretionary ground

This ground is discretionary and the Tribunal can choose whether or not to issue the eviction order if:

  • you have not paid some of the rent or all of the rent which is due, for at least three months in a row; and
  • on the first day that the issue comes before the Tribunal, an amount less than one month's rent remains unpaid; and
  • the Tribunal is satisfied that it is right on this basis to issue an eviction order.

In deciding whether it is right to evict, the Tribunal can look at many things, including whether the reason for your not paying the rent is a delay or failure in the payment of some benefits, including Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

If you have three months’ arrears in a row

  • If you have rent arrears for three months in a row, start paying your rent and something off the arrears. You should aim to pay off your arrears so that there is less than one month’s arrears owed on the date of the hearing.
  • Contact your local council if you are waiting for a Housing Benefit claim to be sorted out and this is making your rent arrears worse. Ask for a payment on account, sometimes called an interim payment if you have been waiting more than 14 days. If you are waiting for your claim for Universal Credit to be sorted out and it is making your arrears worse, contact the DWP and ask for a short-term advance payment on account. Contact us for advice.

Notice to leave

The amount of notice your landlord has to give you will depend on how long you've lived in the property and the grounds your landlord is using to evict you.

If your landlord is using the ground of rent arrears, they must give you at least 28 days' notice in a document called the notice to leave. If your landlord sends you the notice to leave by post or email, they must allow you 48 hours to receive it and then the notice period begins after that.

If you receive the notice from your landlord, contact them straight away and try to reach an agreement. Keep paying your rent and what you have offered to pay off the arrears.

Your landlord's notice must say:

  • which one (or more) of the 18 grounds is the reason why the landlord is ending the tenancy;
  • why the landlord thinks that ground applies; and
  • the date on which the tenancy is to end.

Your landlord should give you a copy of any supporting evidence for the eviction ground when they serve the notice. Once you have received the notice, you can choose either to:

You do not need to move out until an eviction order is granted by the Tribunal. Keep paying your rent and what you have offered to pay off the arrears.

Eviction order for rent arrears

Extra advice:

time limit

Your landlord can only make an application for an eviction order if it's been less than six months since the notice they gave you expired.

If you have not been able to make an arrangement with your landlord and you do not leave the property on the tenancy end date stated on the notice, your landlord can apply to the Tribunal to get an order to evict you. If your landlord applies for an eviction order, they must give the Tribunal a copy of the notice to leave. They must also inform the local council that they are seeking to evict you.

The Tribunal hearing

You should go to the Tribunal hearing, even if you have no rent arrears or if you have already made an agreement with your landlord. If you attend, you are much more likely to be successful. If you do not attend, you are less likely to get what you want.

If you cannot go to the hearing because of illness or disability, write to the Tribunal to explain your circumstances and ask if a relative or friend can represent you. Don’t forget to include the case number in the letter. You will find this on the Tribunal form.

If there is to be a hearing, you will be notified at least 14 days beforehand. Although there may be a hearing, it does not mean that you will automatically lose your home. Even if the Tribunal decides that you cannot afford to stay there, you will not be evicted from your home on the date of the hearing.

Keep paying your rent and the amount you have offered off the arrears. This will show the Tribunal that you are now able to pay.

On the day of the hearing, the chairing member will introduce any other Tribunal members present and explain the purpose of the hearing. You are allowed to have a legal representative such as a solicitor. You can also bring a supporter to the hearing, who can assist you. They are not able to address the Tribunal in the way a solicitor can, but they can:

  • give you moral support;
  • help you to manage any paperwork;
  • take notes for you; and
  • advise you without disturbing the hearing.

Answer questions clearly, calmly and fully. This will help the Tribunal make its decision. You have as much right to put your case forward as the landlord.

Orders the Tribunal can make

The Tribunal can make the following orders.

  • Dismiss your landlord’s application. The Tribunal may do this if you have paid off all the arrears before the hearing date
  • Adjourn the case. This could be to provide extra information to support your case, or to pay off your arrears in full, for example by sorting out your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit claim, or for some other reason.
  • Make an eviction order. This means that sheriff officers will be given the power to remove you from the property. Your tenancy will end on the date set out in the eviction order. See the later section Eviction for more information.

Appeal

It may be possible to ask for permission to appeal the decision of the Tribunal to the Upper Tribunal on a point of law. You will need to make written application to the Tribunal to ask for permission. You will need legal help to do this, possibly from a solicitor if you can get legal aid. Alternatively, contact Shelter Scotland on 0808 800 4444, or Money Advice Scotland to speak to a local money adviser or your local Citizens Advice Scotland office to see whether you have grounds for an appeal.

If you make a written application for permission to appeal the decision of the Tribunal, it will consider whether to give you permission. The Tribunal may agree to give permission or it may refuse.

If the Tribunal agrees to give you permission, it will notify you and any other people who are connected with the case. If the Tribunal refuses, it will notify you of its decision and its reasons for refusing permission. It will also inform you of your right to make an application to the Upper Tribunal for permission to appeal that decision, the time limit for applying and how to do make the application.

Recall of the decision

If you were not present and were not represented at the hearing when the Tribunal made the eviction order, you can apply to have the decision recalled or reopened. You must make the application in writing to the Tribunal within 14 days of the Tribunal’s decision, explaining why it should be recalled. You must send a copy to your landlord and anyone else taking part in the case. You can only make an application to recall once during the proceedings.

Your landlord can object to the recall of the decision by giving the Tribunal a ‘statement of objection’ within 10 days of receiving the copy of your application. They should send a copy of their statement to you at the same time as they make their application.

The Tribunal will consider the application and any statement of objection and either:

  • grant the application and recall the decision;
  • refuse the application; or
  • order you and your landlord to take part in a discussion, before considering whether to recall the decision or not.

Eviction for rent arrears - what can I do?

Sheriff officers

Before you are evicted, you will receive a letter, called a Form of Charge for Removing. This tells you the date and time when the sheriff officers will come to evict you. You may be able to stop this, but you must act quickly. See the Shelter Scotland website page Eviction by sheriff officers for more information.

Try to move out before the eviction date, because the sheriff officers can force their way into your home if they have to. They might remove your possessions from your home.

Returning the deposit

At the end of the tenancy, either the landlord or you can ask for the deposit to be returned from the scheme provider.

Your landlord should ask for the deposit to be returned, as soon as it is reasonable for them to have done so, after the end of the tenancy. They must tell the scheme provider how much they think you should get back and how much they think they should be paid. The scheme provider will contact you and ask you to confirm within 30 working days whether you agree with your landlord’s statement or not. If you do not dispute the amounts, you will be paid within five working days of the end of the 30-day confirmation period.

If you ask the scheme provider to return the deposit, you must tell the scheme provider how much you think you should get back and how much you think they should pay to the landlord. The scheme provider will contact your landlord and ask them to confirm within 30 working days whether they agree with your statement or not. As long as your landlord does not dispute your amounts, you will be paid within five working days of the end of the 30-day confirmation period. However, if your landlord makes an application during the 30-day confirmation period, the scheme provider will progress the landlord’s application and not yours.

If either you or your landlord disputes the amounts to be paid, you can use the free dispute resolution scheme and ask an adjudicator to resolve the matter. You don’t have to use the dispute resolution scheme if you want to resolve the matter between yourselves. However, if you want to use the dispute resolution scheme, the landlord must use it. Your landlord must prove that they have a claim to retain some or all of the deposit. If they cannot, the adjudicator must return the deposit to you. For more information see the Tenancy deposit (Tenants) page on mygov.scot website.

Wrongful termination

If your tenancy has ended and you think you were misled into leaving, you can apply to the Tribunal for a wrongful termination order.

The Tribunal may make a wrongful termination order if it decides that your landlord:

  • misled the Tribunal into issuing an eviction order when it shouldn't have; or
  • wrongly made you leave the property.

If your landlord gets a wrongful termination order, the Tribunal will tell them to pay you compensation of up to six months' rent. They will also notify the local council that the wrongful termination order has been made if the landlord is registered with the council.

Getting rehoused

See our fact sheet:

Homelessness.

If you think you may lose your home, contact your local council to make a homeless application. You can get help from the council if you are likely to become homeless in the next two months. If the council determine that you meet all the homelessness criteria, they have a duty to offer you settled accommodation.  If you only meet some of the homelessness criteria, they will provide you with advice and assistance which may include the offer of temporary accommodation.

The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) and rent arrears

See our fact sheet:

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS).

A DAS debt payment programme is a special scheme to help you repay your debts at an affordable rate over a certain period. It provides protection from bankruptcy and diligence. This means that your landlord could still take possession action to evict you, despite the debt payment programme, if you are behind with your rent payments. However, having rent arrears included in a DAS may make possession of your home less likely.

If your landlord still takes action to take possession of your home, you can ask the Tribunal to take your debt payment programme into account when deciding what to do.

Part Four

Useful contacts

Citizens Advice Scotland
Phone: 0345 404 0506
www.cas.org.uk

GOV.UK
www.gov.uk

Housing and Property Chamber
First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland
4th Floor
1 Atlantic Quay
45 Robertson Street
GLASGOW G2 8JB
Phone: 0141 302 5900
Email: HPCAdmin@scotcourtstribunals.gov.uk
www.housingandpropertychamber.scot

Law Society of Scotland
www.lawscot.org.uk

Money Advice Scotland
Email: info@moneyadvicescotland.org.uk
Phone: 0141 572 0237
www.moneyadvicescotland.org.uk

Rent Service Scotland
Phone: 0300 244 7000
Email: rrs.dundee@gov.scot

Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Phone: 0131 444 3300
Email: enquiries@scotcourts.gov.uk
www.scotscourts.gov.uk

Scottish Government
www.gov.scot

Shelter Scotland
Phone: 0808 800 4444
scotland.shelter.org.uk

Turn2us
www.turn2us.org.uk