Tenants who have fallen behind on their rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of eviction could qualify for a grant from their local authority.

The Scottish Government has provided £10m for the grants as part of a package of measures available to local authorities to prevent homelessness, alongside discretionary housing payments and advice on maximising income. The grants also come on top of the £10m Tenant Hardship Loan Fund.

Trailed by the Deputy First Minister in June, the grants, available to tenants in both the private and social rented sectors, will help tenants who are struggling financially as a direct result of the pandemic, allowing them to reduce or pay off their rent arrears.

Under the scheme, the Government will provide a one-off allocation of funds to each local authority, based on a distribution agreement with CoSLA. The grant funding will be available until the end of March 2022.

There is no application process for a tenant or landlord to use for the grant funding: local authorities will use their discretion to determine whether a grant payment is appropriate in individual circumstances.

Housing Secretary Shona Robison said: “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.”

 

Nina Ballantyne, Citizens Advice Scotland social justice spokesperson, added: “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.”