Grants for tenants in rent arrears with £10m to help people worst affected by pandemic to avoid eviction.
Local councils across Scotland have been given access to a £10 million fund by the Scottish Government, to provide grants to tenants who have fallen into rent arrears as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of eviction.
The grants will help tenants who are struggling financially as a direct result of the global pandemic, allowing them to reduce or pay off their rent arrears. The grants will be available to tenants in both the private and social rented sectors.
This is part of a package of measures available to local authorities to actively prevent homelessness, alongside Discretionary Housing Payments and advice on maximising income. The grants also come on top of the Scottish Government’s £10 million Tenant Hardship Loan Fund.
Letting Cloud CEO Grant MacCusker said:
“This is a great relief for the rental sector as it effect the letting triangle dramatically if payments are missed, people are served eviction notices and let’s be honest, this is someone no landlord or tenant could have planned for. The £10 million is a massive boost to the sector and we hope for all it reaches the people most in need.”
Housing Secretary Shona Robison said:
“We have been doing all we can to support tenants who are struggling as a result of the pandemic, and this latest funding takes our total housing support to almost £39 million.
“These grants will support tenants and landlords who are willing to work together to address rent arrears and agree a repayment plan to ensure the tenant is able to avoid eviction.
“Councils have substantial experience in supporting people who have fallen behind on their rent, and are therefore well placed to work with both tenants and landlords in making use of this grant fund. Anyone who has been financially impacted by the pandemic and needs help to avoid eviction should contact their local authority housing department to discuss their circumstances.”
Councillor Kelly Parry, COSLA Community Wellbeing spokesperson, said:
“We are working closely with the Scottish Government to support tenants through the grant fund.
“The pandemic has resulted in some facing a significant loss of income which has resulted in a proportion of these developing rent arrears. The fund is limited and therefore will be targeted at those most at risk of eviction, but will allow local authorities, tenants and landlords to work together to stay in their homes and prevent homelessness.
“Councils have a lead role in supporting a fair and inclusive recovery. Enabling people to sustain their tenancies helps maintain their important community connections.”
Nina Ballantyne, Citizens Advice Scotland Social Justice spokesperson, said:
“The Citizens Advice network saw a real spike in demand for housing-related advice during the pandemic. Our analysis suggests almost 300,000 people in Scotland missed a housing payment last year because they ran out of money before pay day.
“We called for more support for tenants and are delighted to see this fund launch – we’d now encourage people to seek advice on what support is right for them and make use of all the options available.”
More information and how you can apply can be found via the Scottish Government’s website.