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Scotland extends rented sector loan schemes

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Tenants and private sector landlords in Scotland facing financial difficulties caused by the pandemic have more time to access support.

The Tenant Hardship Loan Fund and the Private Rent Sector Landlord (non-business) Covid-19 Loan Scheme, both of which offer interest-free loans, will continue to receive applications beyond the original deadline of 31 March 2021.

The Private Rent Sector Landlord Covid-19 Loan Scheme offers eligible landlords up to 100% of lost rental income for up to three properties.

It supports private sector landlords who are not classified as businesses, have five or fewer properties to rent and have lost rental income due to tenants being unable to pay rent as a result of the pandemic.

The Tenant Hardship Loan Fund is designed to help renters who have had their finances or employment impacted by coronavirus and do not have other means of housing support.

The loans are available for social and private tenants up to a maximum of nine months’ rent costs covering rent arrears and future rent, where those arrears have arisen since 1 January 2020. The loan can include up to a maximum of three months of future rent payments as part of the nine-month total.

Both loans are repayable. Their extension comes after Scotland’s housing minister Kevin Stewart extended temporary regulations banning the enforcement of eviction orders in the private and social rented sectors.

Stewart said: “Throughout this pandemic our focus has been on enabling people to stay safe in their homes while the lockdown restrictions needed to suppress the virus are in place.

“These loan schemes have provided vital support as part of our broader effort to help those facing financial hardship as a result of Covid-19. For the majority of tenants facing financial difficulties and arrears the best means of support continues to be regular non-repayable support, for example through universal credit and discretionary housing payments.

“However, for those who may fall through the gap and are unable to claim such support, these funds offer a helping hand to manage any rent issues that have arisen in the last few months as a result of Covid-19.

“We have been clear that no landlord should evict a tenant because they have suffered financial hardship due to the pandemic and that tenants in difficulty should engage with their landlord and seek advice on the options open to them.”

Applications for both loans can be completed online.

In England, tenants’ campaign group Generation Rent is calling on the government to create a ‘Covid Rent Debt Fund’ to clear rent arrears.

In January Citizens Advice estimated that half a million private renter households were in arrears by November, owing their landlords £360m.