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Good news for landlords in Wales as the introduction of a grant scheme will hopefully alleviate pressure caused by unpaid rent.
As the eviction ban in Wales came to an end, the Welsh Government have announced a £10m package to assist the most vulnerable tenants.
The grant, designed to help those who have accumulated more than 8 month’s rent arrears since the 1st of March 2020, is hoped to help prevent tenants from being evicted.
Following in the footsteps of the Scottish tenant hardship loan which launched last year, this new grant scheme is aimed at helping tenants who have accumulated rent arrears because of Covid-19.
This includes those who have been on furlough, have seen a reduction in their work, or have only been able to claim statutory sick pay, while ill with Covid-19.
Tenants can apply for the scheme now, and the money will be administered by local authorities from mid-July.
Previously, Wales offered the Tenancy Saver Loan, which was introduced in December 2020.
The Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change Julie James, who is responsible for housing, commented:
“Throughout the pandemic, we have taken unprecedented steps to tackle homelessness and support people to remain in their homes.
“The new Tenancy Hardship Grant is the latest in this range of measures and will help people in privately rented homes who have fallen behind on their rent because of the pandemic.
“I understand the stress and worry people will be experiencing if they have fallen behind in their rent. We also know that once someone falls behind with their rent it can be increasingly difficult for them to catch up without support.
“We also know that if they are made homeless, the impact on them and their families is huge – so too is the cost to public services of dealing with homelessness.”
The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) is backing the introduction of the grant fund but are critical that England is still not financially supporting tenants who have fallen behind on rent.
Ben Beadle, NRLA chief executive, says:
“[This] is a positive step for both landlords and tenants in Wales and will help keep people in their homes. We welcome that the Welsh Government has listened to NRLA calls to introduce an improved scheme that will help more tenants pay their rent.
“It is essential that the grants are made as accessible for tenants as possible and implemented effectively. We encourage landlords who have tenants with arrears to make them aware of the scheme.
“This help in Wales follows that of Scotland, and exposes England as being the poor relation when it comes to support for the private rented sector. It is time for the Chancellor to provide similar assistance for landlords and tenants in England.”