The Scottish and Welsh governments have announced that they will be upping the support they offer tenants who are struggling as a result of the coronavirus.
Some measures have been introduced, while others have been extended, so here’s a short overview of the latest changes.
An interest-free loan will be made available to tenants experiencing financial difficulties and who are unable to access certain benefits or other forms of support toward their housing costs.
The sum of £10 million has been allocated to the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund, but details about who will be eligible for it, and how to apply, are still to be announced.
We know the loan will be accessible from November, though the exact date hasn’t yet been confirmed.
In addition to this, an extra £3 million is being pumped into the Discretionary Housing Payment fund, which is in place to help tenants already in receipt of benefits.
The DHP was originally a £60 million budget set up to mitigate the impact of the bedroom tax in Scotland, and has been increased by £19 million, including the latest top-up.
Scottish Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said that these measures are there to ensure no one is left in a position where they cannot access support to pay their rent.
In the same announcement, the Housing Minister also extended the current ban on evictions – which was due to end on September 30th – to March 2021.
This means that irrespective of the type of tenancy, or what kind of notice is served, or for whatever reason, all eviction proceedings are to be placed on hold.
The only exceptions to this are cases involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse.
Learn more about the Scottish government’s support for tenants.
A similar loan scheme to Scotland’s will be implemented in Wales, but it will not be interest-free.
The £8 million Tenant Saver Loan Scheme will be offered at an APR of 1%, over a term of up to five years.
It will be available to private tenants who are experiencing rent arrears as a result of the coronavirus, but can also be used to cover future rent payments if a tenant anticipates they will struggle to find the funds needed.
The money will be paid directly to the lettings agent or landlord and, at the moment, there is no cap on the amount that can be borrowed.
The ban on evictions in Wales is in place until the 30th of September, so until then tenants must be given a minimum notice of 6 months before any court action can begin.
The Welsh government did say that this will be reviewed and that the ban could be extended once more.
Read more about the extension of the evictions ban in England and Wales.