Step 3 Dealing with your priority debts

​Rent

Rent arrears fact sheets

 

For more information about how to deal with rent arrears, see our detailed rent arrears fact sheet for social housing tenants or for private tenants.

These fact sheets will give you practical information and advice if you are behind on your rent. They will explain your options, and the processes your landlord must follow.

Use these fact sheets to:

  • work out what kind of tenancy you have;
  • find out if there is any help you can get with your rent;
  • help you negotiate with your landlord; and
  • get advice about dealing with court or tribunal action.

These fact sheets also include some useful contacts and links for you to get further help.

It is very important that you do not build up rent arrears on your home because you could lose it if you do not pay them off.

Your right to stay in your home depends on the type of tenancy you have. Each type gives different rights. So it's important for you to find out what type of tenancy you have. If you are not sure, contact Shelter or your local Citizens Advice office. Contact us for​ more advice.

You cannot be evicted from your home without a court or tribunal order. Even if yo​u are taken to court or tribunal, this does not always mean you will automatically lose your home. Keep paying your rent and make an offer to pay off the arrears. Even if the court or tribunal decides you cannot afford to stay there, you will not be evicted from your home on the day of the hearing. There are special rules for some types of tenancy.

Before a social landlord (such as a local council or a housing association) can take court action to evict you from your home, they should follow the Scottish Government's pre-action requirements. Courts should take these requirements into account before deciding what order to make.

Extra advice:

no eviction without a court or tribunal order

You cannot be evicted for rent arrears without a court or tribunal order. However, if you have a common law tenancy (for example, you are a boarder, live in a hostel or are a hotel guest) or are a squatter, you do not have the same rights as a tenant.

Dealing with rent arrears

It is never too early or too late to come to an arrangement to repay your arrears. You may not be behind yet or your landlord may have started court or tribunal action. Whatever the situation, don't delay. Contact your landlord as soon as possible by writing to them, phoning them or making an appointment to see them.

Make sure your rent arrears have 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. Ask for regular statements. Keep your receipts.

If you have made an offer to pay the arrears, start paying this as soon as possible, even if it hasn't been accepted by your landlord. You also need to pay your normal rent. If you haven't paid for a while, pay as much as you can.

There may be benefits, tax credits or Universal Credit that you are not claiming or other ways of increasing your income. You may be able to claim Housing Benefit to reduce the rent you pay. Ask your council's Housing Benefit office for a form. If you are claiming Universal Credit, make sure that you put in the amount of your rent when you make a claim. Pay as much as you can towards your rent until your benefit comes through. You might want to get a short-term benefit advance of Housing Benefit or a short-term advance of Universal Credit to help you manage your rent payments.

Housing Benefit and Ways of increasing your income for more information.

Extra advice:

harassment

If your landlord threatens to throw you out without going to court or tribunal, or harasses you to make you leave, they will 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. Contact us for advice.

See our fact sheet:

Homelessness.

Have you been treated fairly?

If you think you have been treated unfairly, complain to your landlord. If you are still not happy, and you are a council or housing-association tenant, you can complain to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. If you are a private tenant, contact Shelter Scotland to help you look at your options before you make a complaint.

Private tenancies

Rent arrears fact sheet

 

For more information about how to deal with rent arrears, see our detailed Rent arrears - private tenant fact sheet.

This fact sheet will give you practical information and advice if you are behind on your rent. It will explain your options, and the processes your landlord must follow.

Use this fact sheet to:

  • work out what kind of tenancy you have;
  • find out if there is any help you can get with your rent;
  • decide the best option for you;
  • help you negotiate with your landlord; and
  • get advice about dealing with tribunal action.

This fact sheet also includes some useful contacts and links for you to get further help.

It is very important to check exactly what sort of tenancy agreement you have. It can be a lot easier for a landlord to evict you from your home if you have a private residential tenancy.

In some cases, the tribunal can choose whether it is reasonable to make you leave your home. In other cases, the tribunal must order you to leave.

Assured and short assured tenancies

If your landlord goes to tribunal and you still have at least three months' worth of rent arrears on the date of the hearing, the tribunal cannot allow you to make an arrangement to pay the arrears and it has to let your landlord evict you.

If you have a short assured tenancy, your landlord can ask you to leave at the end of the tenancy term as long as they follow the correct procedures. Contact us for advice.

Private residential tenancy

If your landlord goes to tribunal and you have had rent arrears for three months or more in a row, and you owe a month's worth of rent on the day of the hearing, the tribunal cannot allow you to make an arrangement to pay the arrears and it has to let your landlord evict you. Contact us for advice.