Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): pre-action requirements and seeking repossession of private rented housing on rent arrears grounds

Published: 9 Oct 2020

Guidance for private landlords on pre-action requirements and seeking repossession of private rented housing on rent arrears grounds.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): pre-action requirements and seeking repossession of private rented housing on rent arrears grounds
Information about the Coronavirus Acts

Information about the Coronavirus Acts

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 and The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020

Both these Acts are now in force. For the private rented sector, during the coronavirus outbreak, the Acts have:

  • increased the notice period across most eviction grounds in the private rented sector for up to six months, bar some grounds such as the abandonment and vacant property ground, and antisocial and criminal behaviour by the tenant or where the landlord or their family need to move into the property where shorter notice periods apply.
  • see more information on eviction grounds.
  • amended all the eviction grounds a landlord can use to regain possession to make them discretionary, including those related to rent arrears.
  • introduced private landlord pre-action requirements that should be complied with when seeking to end a private residential tenancy, an assured or short assured tenancy due to rent arrears where all, or part of the arrears, occurred on or after 27 May 2020 (the date when the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Act 2020 came into force). And ensures that the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) take account of the extent to which a landlord has complied with the pre-action requirements provided for by regulations in deciding whether it is reasonable to grant an eviction order. This is what this guidance is about.

Due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, evictions involving rent arrears are temporarily changed by the introduction of these pre-action requirements, where all, or part of the arrears, arose due to the coronavirus outbreak. The extent to which a landlord has complied with these requirements will be considered by the First Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) when deciding whether it is reasonable to grant a repossession order.

It only applies in cases where landlords seek repossession for rent arrears. If a landlord is seeking repossession on multiple grounds, which include rent arrears, then this requirement and guidance does apply.

The Rent Arrears Pre-Action Requirements (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 sets out the requirements that landlords should take before applying for an eviction order.