Scottish landlords pledge to help tenants during Covid-19 outbreak
Scotland’s largest and only dedicated national landlord organisation today issued a five-point plan for its members to ensure they can help tenants affected by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), today urged landlords to follow 5 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 with tenants who might be affected by Covid-19, particularly get in touch with those at risk such as older people or those in vulnerable groups.
- Be flexible with tenants and help them not to fall into rent arrears.
- Understand their legal responsibilities. You are not alone. SAL is here to help and is giving expert advice to our member landlords in these difficult times. Not yet a member? Then join here.
- Ask their mortgage provider for relief if a tenant is in difficulty due to Covid-19 and directly pass on any benefit 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 SAL, 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 alert 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.”