Scottish landlord body issues advice to help tenants during COVID-19 outbreak
Scotland’s dedicated national landlord organisation has issued a five-point plan for its members to ensure they can help tenants affected by the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) urged landlords to follow five simple steps to help tenants who might be affected by the implications of COVID-19 in Scotland.
The actions include checking on the welfare of tenants they think might be affected, particularly older or vulnerable people for whom a landlord might be their only contact; being proactive to help tenants who expect to experience difficulty paying rent; and ensuring landlords are aware of their legal responsibilities.
SAL has also called for landlords to be able to request assistance with mortgage payments in circumstances where a tenant is experiencing difficulty, with any savings being passed on, helping to ensure that tenants do not fall into arrears.
Although lenders have made public announcements regarding individual mortgages, there is currently no relief available in the buy-to-let sector, which limits the ability of landlords to help tenants.
Landlords are urged to:
- Talk and get in touch with tenants who might be affected by COVID-19, particularly those at risk such as older people or those in vulnerable groups.
- Be flexible with tenants so they do not fall into rent arrears.
- Understand their legal responsibilities.
- Ask their mortgage provider for relief if a tenant is in difficulty due to COVID-19 and directly pass on any savings to the tenant via a rent reduction.
- Seek advice and information for tenants from government, trade bodies and charities regarding issues such as benefit entitlements.
John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, said: “This is some basic advice we are providing to our members about how to support tenants affected by COVID-19 over the coming period.
“The vast majority of landlords are already very flexible in working with tenants experiencing difficulty with rents and the law rightly says that no attempt can be made to evict anyone unless they are in rent arrears by three consecutive months.
“Although the expectation is that most of those who contract COVID-19 will recover in 7-10 days, there will undoubtedly be much wider economic impacts for many people and landlords must be understanding and alive to these.
“The coming weeks and months are undoubtedly going to be difficult for tenants and landlords alike with a lot of uncertainty and change. That is why we are also urging landlords to act on behalf of tenants affected to have mortgage payments paused so that this can be passed on to help.”
- Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.