A debate in the Scottish Parliament has been had, during which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon promised to consider offering more help to tenants who have been hit by the pandemic and fallen into rent arrears as a result.
Earlier in the year, in June 2021, the Scottish Government announced the £10 million grant fund, in addition to £10 million tenant hardship loan fund, made available in December 2020 to tenants struggling financially due to Covid.
Ms Sturgeon’s pledge came in response to Labour MSP Mark Griffin’s allegation that the hardship loan fund was “completely useless” as only £42,000 had been paid out so far, and it was only a drop in the ocean compared to the £9 million increase in rent arrears in the third quarter of this year alone.
Ms Sturgeon said: “We are very much aware that rising rent costs cause hardship for tenants. Although that has been the case for many years, the pandemic has further exacerbated the financial situation for many people.
“In the course of the budget process, we will of course consider what more we can do to help not just tenants but others who are dealing with difficult financial circumstances right now.”
Ms Sturgeon also reassured that the plans for rent control pressure zones were going ahead, although earlier implementation i.e. before 2025 was unlikely given that these “reforms will be contentious.”
However, Ms Sturgeon remains firm in her position regarding notice periods, despite calls from landlords requesting that the stipulations for the length of required time, return to how they stood prior to the pandemic.