Rent arrears fall but homeless applications on the rise

Social landlord rent arrears have fallen to their lowest level since April 2020, according to the Scottish Housing Regulator.

Rent arrears fall but homeless applications on the rise

Publishing its monthly dashboard report for March yesterday, the Regulator said that arrears for Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) was £60,086,100, which was £3,876,640 less than the previous month and the lowest since the Regulator started collecting monthly returns from social landlords in April 2020.

Local authority arrears have also decreased by £3,647,396 to £100,623719, bringing aggregate rent arrears to their lowest since May 2020.

The number of lets made in March was the highest reported by social landlords since the monthly returns started, with lets to people experiencing homelessness surpassing 2,000 for the first time. This increase in letting activity sits alongside a 26% increase in the number of empty homes becoming available during March compared to February.

The Regulator said planned changes to the City of Edinburgh Council’s recording system mean that it has again been unable to provide figures for the homelessness indicators in time for publication. Excluding Edinburgh, there has been a 20% increase in the number of people who applied to local authorities as homeless compared to February. There was a small drop in the number of households in temporary accommodation (this fell by 1%).

The Regulator’s monthly dashboard report is designed to help the Scottish Government and social landlords to understand the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic and to support the work of the Social Housing Resilience Group.

Since April 2020, all social landlords have been providing the Regulator with a monthly return on a small set of key measures that focus on the main areas of impact on landlords’ operations. In March 2021, the Regulator wrote to all landlords to advise them that the frequency of the returns will change from monthly to quarterly. The first quarterly return will be due from landlords in July 2021. The Regulator will write to landlords shortly with further details.

Meanwhile, the Regulator has updated its advice for governing body members during COVID-19.

The provisions on virtual general meetings introduced by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 have ended and the Regulator has updated its advice to reflect this change to support governing bodies as they consider the arrangements for their AGM or SGM.

Updated technical guidance FAQs to support social landlords to make their Annual Return on the Scottish Social Housing Charter by 31 May has also been published.

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