Councils in Scotland have been given £10m to provide grants to tenants who have fallen behind on their rent as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and are at risk of eviction.
The grants will help tenants who are struggling financially as a direct result of the pandemic, allowing them to reduce or pay off their rent arrears.
They will be available to tenants in both the private and social rented sectors.
This is part of a package of measures available to local authorities to prevent homelessness, alongside Discretionary Housing Payments and advice on maximising income.
The grants also come on top of the Scottish Government’s £10m Tenant Hardship Loan Fund.
Commenting, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, Shona Robison said:
“We have been doing all we can to support tenants who are struggling as a result of the pandemic and this latest funding takes our total housing support to almost £39m.
“These grants will support tenants and landlords who are willing to work together to address rent arrears and agree a repayment plan to ensure the tenant is able to avoid eviction.
“Councils have substantial experience in supporting people who have fallen behind on their rent and are therefore well placed to work with both tenants and landlords in making use of this grant fund.
“Anyone who has been financially impacted by the pandemic and needs help to avoid eviction should contact their local authority housing department to discuss their circumstances.”
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities’ (COSLA) Community Wellbeing Spokesperson, Councillor Kelly Parry added:
“We are working closely with the Scottish Government to support tenants through the grant fund.
“The pandemic has resulted in some facing a significant loss of income, which has resulted in a proportion of these developing rent arrears.
“The fund is limited and therefore will be targeted at those most at risk of eviction, but will allow local authorities, tenants and landlords to work together to stay in their homes and prevent homelessness.
“Councils have a lead role in supporting a fair and inclusive recovery. Enabling people to sustain their tenancies helps maintain their important community connections.”
Through this fund, the Scottish Government will provide a one-off allocation of payments to each of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, based on a distribution agreement with COSLA.
The grant funding will be available until the end of March 2022 and councils will use their discretion to determine whether a grant payment is appropriate in individual circumstances.