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How the death of a loved one can lead to the loss of your home

Susie Rose
Written by Susie Rose

Everyone who has lost a loved one will know that grief knocks you for six. Imagine then the horror of being told that as well as letting go of the life you had with them you must also let go of the home you lived in together.  

That’s the reality for people like Peter in Glasgow who lost his partner to Covid-19 in April and was then told he couldn’t stay in the home they had shared for three years.  

Peter had moved into his partner’s housing association home. She was the tenant and when he needed to take it on he was told that because they had no record of him living in the property he would have to move out. The first date they suggested wasn’t even two months after her death.  

Peter said: “I’ve not had a chance to grieve and now they’re taking my home.” 

Peter called Shelter Scotland’s helpdesk and has been receiving advice and support from our Glasgow Community Hub. As a result the social landlord is willing to give him extra time and is looking again at his case. We can only hope it will be enough to keep him out of homelessness and unsuitable temporary accommodation.  

The law says that if you’re  not married or in a civil partnership you’ll  need to have written proof that you informed your social landlord that you moved into the property at least 12 months before the death of the tenant.  

But didn’t the Scottish Government tell social landlords not to evict during the pandemic? 

There appears to be a loophole where some people don’t  have the same level of protection because they’re  not considered ‘tenants’ by the landlord who owns their home.  We’ve had several calls from people like him. It’s not just partners, people who move in to help care for elderly parents are in the same worrying position.  

We’ll fight for people to keep the homes that are keeping them safe but please share this advice. If you move in with a social tenant inform the landlord straight-away. And if you want to fix Scotland’s broken housing system sign-up as a Shelter Scotland supporter.  

Advice on this topic can be found on our website