Private landlords whose tenants are having difficulty making rent payments due to the Coronavirus crisis, will be offered an interest-free loan with deferred payments. This is intended to help take pressure off landlords in the short term, if they experience trouble securing rental income in these unprecedented times.

Landlords should be able to apply to the fund for the interest-free loans “by the end of April, at the latest,” confirmed Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart.

He added: “The measures that are being proposed in the bill seek to find the right balance between protecting tenants from eviction due to financial pressures arising from the pandemic, and ensuring that landlords across the private and social sector can continue to operate effectively. Crucially, the provisions are needed to ensure that we can keep people in their homes at a time when that stability and place of safety is more important than ever.”

A step in the right direction

Commenting on the announcement, John Blackwood, Chief Executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), said: “We are pleased the Scottish Government and other parties have listened to our concerns and welcome this first step in providing support for a sector which has fallen between the cracks of previous announcements.”

He continued: “This announcement will provide some reassurance for our members, a lot of whom rely on income from rented properties and operate the same way as any other small business, but this needs to go a lot further. For example, a lot of our members are retired rely on rental income so unless that income is guaranteed, these older people will suffer real hardship.

“It is also important that landlords and tenants work together throughout this crisis to prevent the threat of later eviction and rent arrears. We do, however, remain convinced that in cases where anti-social behaviour can be conclusively demonstrated, action must be possible so landlords can fulfil our responsibilities to the wider community. We would welcome further clarification on this point in the future.”