Tenants who have suffered financially due to Covid-19, can now receive support in a form of interest-free loans from the Scottish Government’s £10 million Tenant Hardship Loan Fund.
The loan scheme funding, which has opened for applications today (Monday 7th December 2020), is available to both private and social tenants who are struggling to pay their rent as a result of the pandemic.
The interest-free loans can only be used to clear rent arrears that have accrued since 1st January 2020 and/or to pay a maximum of three months future rent payments. Only a maximum of nine months’ rent payments in total can be applied for.
There is a requirement for the applicants to pass an affordability and credit check in advance of a loan being granted. The eligible tenants must also confirm that they were not in rent arrears prior to January 1st this year. Multiple applications are not allowed.
The Tenant Hardship Loan Fund will be delivered by The Energy Saving Trust on behalf of the Scottish Government. To confirm the level of any rent arrears and to also ensure that funds are only used to pay registered landlords, The Energy Saving Trust will contact the landlords of the applicants for verification.
Deferred loan repayments
Once the loan has been paid out, tenants will have six months to start repayments, which should be made in six monthly instalments, although the full amount can also be paid at any point.
It is important that letting agents and landlords keep up to date with various forms of support available for tenants so that they can point them in the right direction if needed.
“With the Pre-Action Requirements for rent arrears having recently been introduced, which requires agents and landlords to signpost the availability of financial support to tenants, and evidence they have done so before the Tribunal will issue a possession order, both agents and landlords should keep in mind the availability of the loan and ensure tenants are informed of any potential financial support source,” explained ARLA Propertymark.
Commenting on the opening of the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund, National Lettings Director at Aberdein Considine, Adrian Sangster said: “We welcome the launch of this fund, which on face value should provide support for tenants who have struggled with rent arrears as a result of COVID.
“Within our own managed portfolio of properties we have worked with both landlords and tenants to ensure rental arrears have been kept to absolute minimum.
“However I am aware of others who have suffered greatly and this fund, as long as it delivers what it promises, will be bring some welcome relief.”