Scottish landlords now need to prove they’ve followed Rent Arrears Pre-Action Requirements if they want to evict tenants.

New regulations announced by the Scottish government cover applications made to the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland from 6th October for an eviction order on the grounds of rent arrears during the COVID-19 period. These changes apply to any tenancy where a notice to quit or leave was served after 6th April.

The government wants landlords to be flexible with any tenants facing financial hardship and aims to make sure they make reasonable efforts to work with tenants before seeking repossession.

Landlords need to show that they’ve given tenants information on the terms of the tenancy agreement, as well as the amount of rent arrears, the tenant’s rights in relation to possession proceedings and how they can find information and advice on financial support and debt management.

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Reasonable efforts

They’ll also need to have made “reasonable efforts to agree on a reasonable plan with the tenant” to make future payments of rent.

The rules also mean that landlords will have to consider any steps being taken by their tenant which might affect their ability to pay on time, the extent to which they have complied with the terms of any plan agreed and any changes to their circumstances which are likely to impact on a payment plan.

“We know that many landlords are already being flexible and accommodating to their tenants who have suffered financial hardship during this pandemic,” says Daryl McIntosh, ARLA Propertymark’s strategic development manager for Scotland (pictured, top).

“The introduction of these regulations will go a long way to in helping to sustain tenancies with agents, landlords and tenants working together and utilising the available financial support to create affordable and reasonable payment plans to prevent homelessness.”

Pre-action requirements for the UK were mooted over the summer but are yet to be fully clarified.

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