Please note that benefits/ legal information can change frequently and if relying on information it is important to check it is up-to-date. The information on this page is current when we post it but we are all volunteers and we cannot guarantee our efforts to keep the page up-to-date are always successful. Please look out for the notices stating when the page/ section was last updated and double-check anything important for your situation. Sources for current info include our Links page.
Housing Benefit Two Homes Payment
If moving home and you need to pay rent for both the old home and the new home for a short period, it is possible to receive Housing Benefit for two homes temporarily. Check out the links page for more information.
Local Housing Allowance
The Private Residential Tenancy (Scotland only)
Summary: from the Chartered Institute of Housing
Summary: from Shelter
The Warm Home Discount
Many people don’t realise they’re eligible for this. It’s provided through your energy provider so check out their website and see if a) you can apply b) you’re eligible. It’s a discount on your energy bill, even if you use a coin operated meter. Check out our links page under ‘Fuel poverty’.
Union for Tenants in Scotland
Living Rent is Scotland’s Tenants’ Union.
Living Rent tenants’ union write:
The Scottish Government has (finally) moved to ban all evictions following on from a successful campaign from Living Rent. The Scottish Government have promised that it will mean that no one is losing their home because of the pandemic. The legislation banning evictions has changed the notice period required for landlords to evict, the legislation will be in place for 6 months from April 7th (so at least until the end of September) and can be extended in 2 month blocks depending on the crisis. It applies to all tenants in Scotland in the private and social sectors. https://www.livingrent.org/covid_19_faqs
Eviction Ban: The Scottish Government has extended the ban on evictions until 30 September 2021. Please see Shelter’s website for the changes to required notice periods and the eviction process during the Covid crisis.
If your landlord tells you to leave your flat, you should stay put and refer them to the legal changes introduced during the Coronavirus crisis here. If they are still trying to make you leave – this is illegal – you should get in touch with Living Rent’s Member Defence Coordinator ASAP.
Can’t Afford the Rent? Living Rent is fighting for a rent waiver for all tenants. And Living Rent advise:
If you are not able to pay your rent, we would advise you to notify your landlord of your financial situation immediately in writing (e-mail), explaining your change of situation and negotiate a rent suspension or a rent reduction. Join Living Rent, and get in contact with a Living Rent Member Defence team, who can support you during this negotiation. The best way to negotiate with your landlord is with your Union by your side. https://www.livingrent.org/covid_19_faqs
Hygiene Kills The Virus Campaign
Living Rent is demanding the Scottish Government act to ensure social landlords properly clean all communal areas. Check out ‘A study of the multi-storey blocks in Muirhouse during the Covid-19 pandemic‘.
Rent & Benefits
The Child Poverty Action Group report:
In addition, the worker’s support package includes an announcement that there will be, ‘Nearly £1bn of additional support for renters, through increases in the generosity of housing benefit and Universal Credit. From April, Local Housing Allowance rates will pay for at least 30% of market rents in each area.’ Social Security (Coronavirus) (Further Measures) Regulations 2020, SI 2020 No.371, regulation 4
Information on housing struggles from the rest of the UK
Brighton Solidarity Federation has started a dispute with the lettings agency Spencer & Leigh in Patcham. A tenant has been organising with SolFed after £510 was withheld from her deposit in order to change a lock and to have the property professionally cleaned. The tenant left the property secure at the end of her tenancy, and she also had it professionally cleaned prior to vacating it.
The letter from the solicitor is an attempt to intimidate a tenant with young children out of taking action for the return of her deposit – money that, as any tenant will know, is much needed and in short supply. We’re not surprised by these legal threats – anyone who has ever dealt with a landlord or letting agency will know that it is an industry that functions via bullying and intimidation. Indeed, the tenant experienced this during her tenancy, which was cut short and her request for flexibility ignored.