Scottish Government publishes repossession guidance for Registered Social Landlords - 18 June 2012
The Scottish Government has this week published new guidelines for RSL's seeking repossession of Social Housing property. A copy of the guidance is attached here.
Landlords will be required to meet all pre-action requirements for all notices of proceedings involving rent arrears which are served on the Tenant or any qualifying occupier on or after 1 August 2012. Consequently, the courts will not hear any re-possession case where the Landlord has not adhered to the pre-action requirements.
The new guidelines provide:
- A Landlord must do all that they can to give the Tenant advice and support prior to entering into a tenancy agreement, and also throughout the duration of the tenancy;
- It is a minimum requirement that the Landlord should make sure that their internal procedure is consistent with all pre-action requirements;
- The Landlord and Tenant must do all that they can to resolve rent arrears before the Landlord takes action to evict the Tenant;
- The first consideration of the Landlord and Tenant must be identifying and where possible resolving the rent arrears issue;
- The point of repossession should be where the arrears have an impact on the Landlord's finances:
- Evictions must always be the last resort.
The requirements for serving a notice of eviction are:
The notice should be served on any qualifying occupiers and must contain:
- The grounds for recovery of the property;
- The reason why repossession is being sought;
- The date which eviction proceedings are to be raised;
- The steps taken by the Landlord in compliance with the pre-action requirements;
- All information on rent and other payment arrears given by the Landlord to the Tenant:
- Any help and advice offered by the Landlord to the Tenant;
- Any efforts to agree a reasonable re-payment plan, and the Tenant keeping to the agreed plan; and
- Has the Tenant been advised by the Landlord to contact Local Authority.
Landlord will be required to confirm to the court that they have met all the pre-action requirements.
The Landlord cannot serve the notice where:
- the Tenant has applied for housing benefit but the application has not yet been determined;
- the Tenant has taken other steps which are likely to result in payment within a reasonable time scale: or
- the Tenant is complying with an agreed arrears payment plan.
The court will also consider the nature, frequency and duration of the Tenant's conduct, the extent to which the conduct was an act or omission of any person other than the Tenant and any action taken by the Landlord.