Loan schemes offered to Scottish tenants and landlords who have suffered financially as a direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic, are soon closing for new applications.
The Scottish Government has announced that the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund and the Private Rented Sector Landlord (non-business) Covid-19 Loan Scheme will run until the end of the year, with the last payments to be made on 31st March 2022.
The statement came in a letter issued to landlord and tenant representatives by Gaynor Davenport from the Scottish Government’s Better Homes division.
Short term emergency loans
The £10 million Tenant Hardship Loan Fund was established in December 2020 to offer interest free loans to tenants whose finances or employment have been affected by the pandemic, whereas the Private Rented Sector Landlord Loan Scheme, opened in May 2020, was launched to offer short term support to landlords who have lost rental income as a result of tenants facing difficulty in paying rent due to Coronavirus.
Existing loan recipients will continue to receive support during their repayment period, where a change of circumstance means they are struggling to meet payments. Landlords and tenants who find themselves in these circumstances, are urged to contact the loan administrator as soon as possible.
Helping sustain tenancies and prevent homelessness
Commenting on the announcement, Daryl McIntosh, Policy Manager and Scottish Government Specialist for Propertymark, said: “The measures introduced by the Scottish Government to aid tenants and landlords who suffered financially during the pandemic must be commended as they went a long way to sustain tenancies and prevent homelessness in a time of uncertainty.”
He continued: “With the payments for both the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund and PRS Landlord Loan Scheme ending on 31st March 2022, we are still to see if the temporary measures which brought about extended notice periods and making the grounds for possession discretionary will come to an end on 31st March 2022 also. Data shows that possession orders are not being issued in dramatic numbers, but without financial support, some landlords may find their situation escalates without fair access to justice if needed.”
Tenants may be eligible for other forms of support, including the £10 million Tenant Grant Fund (due to close on 31st March 2022), Universal Credit, Discretionary Housing Payments, Scottish Welfare Fund etc. Tenants should be signposted to these by relevant agencies wherever possible.