Your Home and Covid 19
Tenants and homeowners may find it difficult to pay their rent or mortgage just now because they have reduced income as a result of the current public health emergency.
It is important to remember that in Scotland, both tenants and homeowners who are not able to pay their rent or mortgage, cannot lose their home without their landlord or mortgage lender obtaining an order from the Court.
The Scottish Government has announced an intention to pass emergency legislation to protect tenants unable to pay their rent because of the health crisis by preventing public and private landlords evicting those tenants for six months and the legislation will be passed by the Scottish Parliament on the 1st of April.
Separately, North Lanarkshire Council has temporarily suspended most evictions and all of the Local Housing Associations have agreed not to evict any tenants experiencing any financial hardship as a result of the health crisis.
Courts and Tribunals are adapting how they work to minimise the health risk to Court staff and users and Court and Tribunal hearings are being postponed or suspended. Applications by private landlords for possession are made to the First Tier Tribunal. The Tribunal has announced that most applications will not be considered until at least after the 28th of May 2020.
Mortgage lenders have agreed to support and assist their borrowers with a range of possible measures and any proceedings before the Courts are likely to be suspended.
What all of this means is that no one should be evicted at this time even if they find that they cannot maintain their rent or their mortgage payments.
Tenants and owners must do their best to maintain payments for their homes because landlords and lenders will reserve the right to take legal action against them at a later date when the crisis has come to an end.
Anyone with payment difficulties should seek advice. The Citizens Advice Bureaux and North Lanarkshire Council have advice services and will help to make sure that everyone can access all of the Benefits that they may be entitled to. North Lanarkshire Council have introduced a Universal Credit Fund to assist new Universal Credit claimants who are Local Authority tenants.
Stewart McMahon, the Manager of Cumbernauld & Kilsyth CAB says, “We want local people to know that they should not fear losing their home during the present crisis even if they cannot manage their rent or mortgage right now. Cumbernauld & Kilsyth CAB can still be contacted by telephone on 01236 723201 or E Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for anyone worried about their housing or any other issues and clients can also find out more through the Bureau website www.cumbernauldcab.org.uk, the Citizens Advice Scotland website www.cas.org.uk or through social media.”