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Rent arrears for private tenants (Scotland)
This fact sheet covers Scotland. You will need different advice if you live in England & Wales.
The information in this fact sheet will help you if you started renting your home from a private landlord on or after 1 December 2017 and you have:
- an assured tenancy; or
- a short assured tenancy; or
- a new private residential tenancy.
If you rent your home from a private landlord, the above applies but if you started your current tenancy between 2 January 1989 and 1 December 2017 then you’ll find the information you need in our Rent arrears- Private tenants with pre 1 December 2017 tenancy agreements.
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.
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.
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.
Winter eviction ban and rent cap
The Scottish Government has announced a temporary rent cap and ban on evictions for most tenants from 6 September 2022. This means it is less likely that your rent will increase or that you will be evicted. This will last until at least 31 March 2023.
The rent cap and eviction ban will apply if you rent from a private landlord, letting agent, housing association or council.
Your landlord will still be able to apply to the court or tribunal for eviction. However, in most cases the landlord will not be able to evict you until the eviction ban ends.
There are some situations where a landlord may still be able to evict you.
- If the eviction is granted on the existing grounds of antisocial behaviour, criminality or the property is empty.
- If your landlord needs to sell the property as they are struggling financially.
- If your landlord wants to live in the property as they are struggling financially.
- You live with your landlord.
- If you rent privately and have arrears of 6 months or more.
- If you have a social tenancy from the council or housing association and have arrears of £2250 or more.
- If you have a social tenancy from the council or housing association and the council need to demolish or renovate your home.
If your landlord is able to try and evict you based on one of the reasons above, you can still ask the tribunal to consider your circumstances to prevent or delay eviction. See the What if my landlord takes action for rent arrears section.
If your landlord tries to evict you illegally, new laws mean that it may be easier for you to challenge an eviction and receive damages. If you landlord served an eviction notice after 6 September 2022 or is threatening to evict you, contact Shelter Scotland.
The rent cap will affect existing and new tenancies. The cap is variable so can be increased but is currently set at 0%, this means in most cases your landlord can’t ask for an increase until 31 March 2022. This date may be extended and the % level of the rent cap could be increased.
- Rent increase notices issued on or after 6 September 2022 will be void.
- Rent increase notices served before 6 September 2022 are not affected.
Some types tenancies of can still have their rent increased, such as a tenancy that started before 1989 (called a regulated tenancy) and a lodger agreement where you live with your landlord. Shelter Scotland has more information on tenancies that can still have rent increased.
There are some reasons that a private landlord may be able to ask for a rent increase.
- The landlords mortgage interest payments have increased.
- The landlord’s insurance premiums have increased.
- Any service charges related to the property have increased.
Your landlord would need to show that that one of the above has increased before they would be able to apply for a rent increase. If you landlord is able to apply for a rent increase, you should only pay 50% of your landlords increased costs up to a maximum of 3% of your current rent.
If you are renting privately and want to challenge a rent increase, you can ask Rent Service Scotland to look at whether it is fair.
If you landlord tries to increase your after 6 September 2022 or is threatening to increase your rent, contact Shelter Scotland.
Help with rent payments
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 make a claim, ask your councils 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.
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.
Universal Credit replaces benefits such as Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. However, people who are getting a Severe Disability Premium in their benefit cannot claim Universal Credit and will remain on their existing benefits.
You 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.
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.
Direct payment to your landlord
If you claim Universal Credit, you can ask for your housing costs element to be paid directly to your landlord. The Scottish Government website page Universal Credit: new choices for people living in Scotland has more information about how to do this at any time during your claim for Universal Credit.
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
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.
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.
You can find the levels of Local Housing Allowance for each region on the Scottish Governments 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.
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.
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 one 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
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 to try and avoid arrears building up.
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 takes five weeks from claim to payment, sometimes longer. It is very important that your rent arrears do not rise quickly.
The DWP should start paying the housing costs element of your Universal Credit within five weeks. So, if your claim has been delayed, ask for a Universal Credit advance payment. You should get a payment unless there has been a problem processing 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 can 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: new choices for people living in Scotland. Contact us for 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.
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 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. 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
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.
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 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. Also, check the information on the Shelter Scotland website page: Renting privately in Scotland.
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.
Paying off my rent arrears
Its 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 Universal Credit advance payment. Contact us for advice.
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.
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
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. This will help you later if you ask the Tribunal for time to pay your rent arrears.
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.
Pre-action requirements for rent arrears
If your rent arrears have built up since 7 April 2020 your landlord should try and help before trying to evict you. Your landlord should give you clear information about:
- the terms of your tenancy agreement;
- the amount you owe;
- your rights during eviction action; and
- how to find information about financial support and debt advice.
Your landlord should also be reasonable when trying to agree a repayment plan with you. They should consider:
- how any change in circumstance will affect your ability to repay the agreement;
- whether you have maintained any repayment agreement; and
- what you have done that may affect your ability to repay the arrears in a reasonable time.
If you think your landlord has not followed these pre-action requirements before starting eviction action, you should tell the tribunal. The tribunal can consider this when deciding whether to grant an eviction. You should also speak to Shelter Scotland on 0808 800 4444.
No eviction without a Tribunal order
You cannot be evicted without a Tribunal order. If your landlord threatens to evict you 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. Also, check the information on the Citizens Advice Scotland website page: You are a private sector tenant taken to the tribunal for rent arrears.
What if my landlord takes action to end the tenancy?
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.
Your landlord can only end your tenancy by using one of the 18 grounds for eviction. Your notice of proceedings and letter from the Tribunal should both tell you the grounds being used.
The grounds for possession are all discretionary. This means that the First-tier Tribunal can use discretion when deciding whether or not to grant an eviction. 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
Eviction for rent arrears is a discretionary ground. 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.
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.
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:
- leave by the date stated on the notice;
- ask for more time to leave;
- seek legal help from a solicitor, especially if you can get legal aid;
- seek advice from Shelter Scotland on 0808 800 4444;
- contact Money Advice Scotland to speak to a local money adviser;
- contact your local Citizens Advice Scotland office; or
- wait for the landlord to apply to the Tribunal for an order to evict you.
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.
Landlord's application to evict
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.
If there is to be a hearing, you will be notified at least 14 days beforehand. The Tribunal will send you a letter, a copy of the landlord’s application form (and any other information provided to them) and invite you to make a written response, either by post or email. You will have 14 days (or longer depending on what is said in the tribunal letter) to make a written response, starting from when you should have received it. It is assumed that you will have received the notice 48 hours after it was sent. Notices such as this from the Tribunal will usually be delivered by Sheriff Officer.
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.
Making a written response
Read through the copy of the landlord’s application. It should tell you:
- why the landlord has made the application;
- that a money action has been taken against you and that you can ask for time to pay; and
- what they want you to do and the Tribunal to decide.
If you do not agree with any of the details, say so in your written response, stating what you think is wrong and what the correct details are.
- Use Your budget to work out what you can afford to pay.
- If you cannot afford to pay anything off the arrears, contact us for advice.
If you are going to respond in writing 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 agree that you owe the rent arrears and you want to pay it back, either by instalments or a lump sum, you can ask for a time to pay direction, based on what you can afford to pay. The application form to ask for a time to pay direction and a guidance note on how to fill in the form will be sent with the paperwork from the Tribunal.
If you are going to find it difficult to find somewhere else to live, explain why. If you expect an eviction order to be made, ask the Tribunal if you can be given extra time to find somewhere else to live.
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.
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. You should include a 'soul and conscience certificate'. This is a letter from your doctor explaining why you are too unwell to go to court. 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.
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, bring any evidence you need to show this.
- 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.
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 or they think the landlord’s request is unreasonable.
- Postpone or adjourn the case to give you or the landlord 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, or for some other reason.
- Issue a direction for somebody to do something. This could be to allow you time to pay your rent arrears.
- 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.
If the Tribunal's decision includes an order for payment or eviction, they may send a copy of the decision to the Registry Trust. The details of the decision may be accessible through the Registry Trust's website Trust Online. This could have an impact on your credit rating. See the Useful contacts section at the end of this fact sheet for details.
See our Credit reference agencies fact sheet for more information.
Time to pay order
If the Tribunal has made a payment order and you did not make an application for a time to pay direction during those proceedings, you may still be able to ask the Tribunal to give you time to pay. You can do this by asking the Tribunal to make a time to pay order.
You can only make an application for a time to pay order once diligence has started and before it has ended. Diligence is the word used to describe the steps a creditor can take to get their money back, after they have taken court or Tribunal action against you. This could include actions such as: an earnings arrestment, a bank arrestment or an attachment of property outside your home.
See our Diligence fact sheet for more information.
You cannot ask for a time to pay order if you have previously received a time to pay direction in earlier Tribunal proceedings and:
- you have missed more than two repayment instalments and the third has become due; or
- you have not paid the lump sum at a later date.
The form and guidance note for time to pay orders are available on the Forms and Guidance - Evictions and Civil Proceedings page of the Tribunal’s website. These documents provide more information about how to make your application. You will need to use Your budget to work out what you can afford to pay before completing the Tribunal form.
If your application is accepted by the Tribunal, they will make an interim order to prevent (sist) further diligence until the application has been considered. The Tribunal will send a copy of your application to the creditor, who will have received it within 48 hours of it being sent. If the creditor does not object within 14 days of receiving the form, the Tribunal will make a time to pay order in the terms that you have asked for, as long as it thinks that it is reasonable to do so.
If the creditor objects to your application within 14 days of receiving it, a case management discussion or a hearing will be scheduled. The Tribunal will notify the creditor and you of the location, time and date. You should always attend the case management discussion or hearing to make the case for your time to pay order. The Tribunal will decide whether or not to make a time to pay order and, if it is made, the Tribunal will notify both you and the creditor. Time will start to run on the payment arrangement from the date of the Tribunal’s decision.
If your circumstances change and you cannot afford to pay what you have offered, you can ask for the time to pay order to be amended or recalled. Contact the Tribunal for details of how to do this. See the Useful contacts section at the end of this fact sheet for details.
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?
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.
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.
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 determines 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.
See ourAdvice if you are worried about losing your home for more information.
The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) and rent arrears
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. You can exclude rent arrears, if that is what you want to do. For instance, you may already have an arrangement to repay your rent arrears agreed with your landlord. An excluded debt will still be noted in the debt payment proposal. Discuss this with your money adviser.
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.
See our Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) fact sheet for more information.
Citizens Advice Scotland Phone: 0345 404 0506 www.cas.org.uk
Housing and Property Chamber
First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland
Glasgow Tribunals Centre
20 York Street
GLASGOW G2 8GT
Phone: 0141 302 5900
Law Society of Scotland www.lawscot.org.uk
Money Advice Scotland Email: email@example.com Phone: 0141 572 0237 www.moneyadvicescotland.org.uk
Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service Phone: 0131 444 3300 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.scotcourts.gov.uk
Scottish Government www.gov.scot
Shelter Scotland Phone: 0808 800 4444 scotland.shelter.org.uk
Trust Online Phone: 020 7380 0133 Email: email@example.com www.trustonline.org.uk