Emergency legislation brought in to protect tenants during the coronavirus pandemic has introduced additional temporary steps that landlords must take before raising an action for repossession due to rent arrears. This applies to properties let on an assured or short assured tenancy (created under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988) or an application for an eviction order against the tenant under a private residential tenancy (created under the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016).
Guidance detailing the full requirements has now been published but, in summary, the regulations provide that the landlord must give the tenant clear information about the terms of their agreement, the value of the rent arrears, what the tenant's rights are and where they can seek financial advice. The landlord must make reasonable efforts to agree a reasonable payment plan with the tenant and must also give reasonable consideration to the tenant's circumstances.
The Rent Arrears Pre-Action Requirements (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 create these new obligations with effect from 30 September in cases where a repossession application has been made because of rent arrears that occurred during the coronavirus pandemic.
Compliance with these pre-action requirements will be taken into account by the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) when determining whether or not to grant a repossession order.
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