A new £10m scheme to help renters with Covid-related arrears has been launched in Wales.
Called the Tenancy Hardship Grant, and introduced by the Welsh Government, it replaces the former Tenancy Saver Loan scheme.
The new scheme is aimed at tenants with rent arrears built up between March 1 last year and June 30 this year; the tenantshave to be already in receipt of benefit.
Anyone who has a loan under the existing loan scheme will have it converted into a grant.
Wales’ climate change minister – who is also responsible for housing – is Julie James and she says: “The scheme will support private rented sector tenants in Wales who are in significant rent arrears as a direct result of the pandemic. It is part of our ongoing commitment to prevent homelessness in Wales.
“The scheme is being delivered by local authorities. Tenants who are not in receipt of housing related benefits, and who have fallen behind on their payments by eight weeks or more as a consequence of the pandemic, between March 1 2020 and June 30 2021, will be eligible to apply for a grant”.
National Residential Landlords Association chief executive Ben Beadle calls the new scheme “a positive step for both landlords and tenants in Wales” and adds: “We welcome the news 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.”