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Supporting Tenants

Help landlords to support their tenants and reduce illegal evictions, whilst increasing tenant engagement

Even the best-organised tenancies can encounter difficulty. Local authorities can help landlords navigate through those difficulties by following the steps here.

Benefits

  • Proactively helping landlords to support their tenants can benefit local authorities by reducing the number of unnecessary and, in some cases, illegal evictions
  • Where tenants/landlords with managed moves to more appropriate properties if long-term affordability or accessibility issues cannot be overcome

Private landlords are not legally obliged to offer tenant support to help sustain tenancies. However, local authorities have highlighted that if landlords become aware of their tenants struggling to pay their rent for example, many may want to help them to sustain their tenancy.

It is in the interest of local authorities to help maintain stable and secure tenancies because it can reduce:

  1. reduce the number of cases where enforcement action needs to be taken
  2. reduce the number of people requiring assistance from homelessness and housing options teams in the area

Landlord may be more willing to:

  1. engage with the local authority in future, to ensure they remain up-to-date on legislative requirements
  2. offer their properties to people approaching the local authority for help with housing

You don’t need to be an advice specialist, but you should ensure that you are aware of the other teams in your local authority who could support private tenants.

In some situations, it may be that landlords have more direct contact with vulnerable tenants than the local authority so are in a good place to signpost assistance. Relevant services could include income maximisation, money and debt, and welfare benefits advice.

If a landlord gets in touch about a tenant with difficulties, it might be more beneficial for you to link the landlord or tenant into the relevant service directly though rather than just signposting.

This helps:

  • build trust and confidence in the local authority
  • promote the benefits of engagement to landlords

Supporting tenants (legal duties of a landlord)

You may want to remind landlords of their legal obligations too – namely to ensure their property complies with the Tolerable and Repairing Standard, and allowing tenants to have the peaceful enjoyment of the property (i.e. ensuring they are not being subjected to antisocial behavior from neighbours or the landlord and correct notice is provided before flat inspections or for repairs).

You can provide the checklist below to landlords to inform and assist them to work with tenants to maintain safe and secure tenancies. You may also want to make this information available on your website.

How can landlords help?

  • Contact tenants as soon as they get into arrears and start a dialogue about any issues before they become serious or persistent.
  • Be aware that mental health issues can negatively impact on a tenants ability to resolve issues on their own.
  • Be aware that fuel poverty can present a particular issue for some tenants during the colder months. Taking steps to improve the energy efficiency of your property can help existing tenants and make it more attractive for future tenants. Over the next few years new regulations are coming into force with increasingly higher standards required for the EPC of rental properties.
  • Some energy efficiency improvement costs can be covered in full if you rent to tenants in receipt of certain ‘passported’ benefits
  • If you learn that tenants are struggling, it could assist them if you are able to provide them with contact details for local support services such as income maximisation, money and debt and welfare benefits advice. If you are not sure who to contact, then you can contact your local authority housing options team for advice.
  • If you become aware of, or are suspicious that there may be, domestic abuse, child neglect, mental health issues, people trafficking, cannabis farms or similar issues affecting your tenants – you should contact your local Social Services team and/or Police Scotland.
  • Remember that it is in everyone’s interest for landlords and tenants to have constructive relationships – this way any issues can be identified and resolved as soon as possible.

This advice sheet is also available as a download here.

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