Tenant Hardship Loan Fund and landlord covid loan scheme to close this month
The Tenant Hardship Loan Fund and the Private Rented Sector Landlord (non-business) COVID-19 Loan Scheme will close to new applications on December 31, the Scottish Government has revealed.
Tenants may still apply for help to cover rent arrears and up to three months future rent payments up to 31 March 2022, subject to eligibility.
The deadline aligns with the Tenant Grant Fund which is due to run until the end of March 2022, the government added.
The announcement came in a letter issues to landlord and tenant representatives by Gaynor Davenport from the Scottish Government’s Better Homes division.
The £10 million Tenant Hardship Loan Fund, which opened in December last year, offered interest-free loans to tenants who are struggling with rent arrears. The fund was designed to help people who have had their finances or employment impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and do not have other means of housing support.
Support will continue to be available for existing loan recipients during their repayment period, where a change of circumstance means they are struggling to make repayments. Ms Davenport urged landlords and tenants in these circumstances to contact the loan administrator as soon as possible.
The PRS Landlord (non-business) Covid-19 Loan provided short-term support for landlords where tenants are having difficulty paying rent as a result of the impacts of Covid-19.
The Tenant Grant Fund is focused on helping tenants with rent arrears that have arisen as a direct result of the pandemic and whose tenancy is at risk. It will continue to be available to tenants until the end of March 2022.
Where a tenant is eligible for other forms of support - for example Universal Credit, Discretionary Housing Payments, Scottish Welfare Fund etc., relevant agencies are urged to continue to signpost tenants to these, Ms Davenport added.
Responding to the announcement, Daryl McIntosh, policy manager and Scottish Government specialist for Propertymark, said: “The measures introduced by the Scottish Government to aid tenants and landlords who suffered financially during the pandemic must be commended as they went a long way to sustain tenancies and prevent homelessness in a time of uncertainty.
“With the payments for both the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund and PRS Landlord Loan Scheme ending on 31st March 2022, we are still to see if the temporary measures which brought about extended notice periods and making the grounds for possession discretionary will come to an end on 31st March 2022 also. Data shows that possession orders are not being issued in dramatic numbers, but without financial support, some landlords may find their situation escalates without fair access to justice if needed.”