Agents working with tenants to avoid evictions

The Scottish Government issued a joint statement in collaboration with Propertymark, and other representative bodies, underlining the commitment shown by letting agents to engage with tenants who found themselves in hardship during the pandemic.

Supporting tenants

The purpose of the statement, issued on 24 June, is to highlight the current levels of support available for tenants and to reaffirm the flexible and supportive approach letting agents and landlords should and, in many cases, have been taking to help keep people safe in their homes and avoid eviction where tenants are struggling through no fault of their own to manage their rent payments.

There are many examples of letting agents and landlords who have gone further than ever before to engage with tenants as more people find themselves in difficulty because of COVID-19. However, where a tenant has suffered financial hardship because of the pandemic, eviction action should be an absolute last resort, when all other avenues have been exhausted and a tenancy is no longer sustainable.

Letting agents and landlords must continue to work to the following principles – for the remainder of the pandemic and throughout recovery:

  • Intervene early to keep people in their homes and give them the support they need to stay there
  • Work with tenants who are struggling and support them to make arrangements to pay rent through a plan that is manageable for them in the long term
  • Be flexible with tenants, signposting them to the range of financial support that is available to help prevent rent arrears as part of the pre-action protocols required before any eviction application to the Tribunal or Sheriff Court.
  • Act compassionately and quickly to support people who are in financial hardship and wish to work with their landlord to reduce arrears.

View the statement which includes case studies  →

Scottish Government tenant grant fund

The statement follows the announcement on 23 June by Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP, of a £10 million grant fund to support tenants struggling to pay their rent due to the pandemic. The new fund takes the Scottish Government’s total support for tenants during the pandemic to almost £39 million.

Support for letting agents and landlords

The extension of the temporary emergency powers to 31 March 2022, which continues with the extended Notice Periods and discretionary grounds for possession was disappointing in that it failed to acknowledge the many landlords and their agents, who have, and are, still working through the challenges of the pandemic. This statement goes some way in highlighting the support letting agents and landlords are providing to ensure tenancies are sustained throughout the pandemic.