Welsh Government scheme to pay off Covid arrears launches
A new £10m scheme supporting private tenants to pay off Covid-related arrears launched this week in Wales.
The Tenancy Hardship Grant, introduced by the Welsh Government, is available to tenants who have fallen into more than eight weeks of arrears as a result of the impact of the pandemic.
It follows extensive NRLA campaigning for a comprehensive package of financial support for tenants and landlords, to address to rent debt crisis.
The grants replace the previous Tenancy Saver Loan scheme (TSL). They will provide support to tenants who incurred rent arrears between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021, and who are now already in receipt of benefit and will be available until at least the end of the financial year.
Anyone who has a loan under the existing loan scheme will have it converted into a grant. This follows NRLA campaigning calling for an improved scheme.
More information on how to apply to the scheme is available on the Welsh Government’s webpage.
Announcing the grants on Thursday, Wales' Climate Change Minister Julie James MS, said:
“I am pleased to announce our £10m Tenancy Hardship Grant (THG) opens to applications today. 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 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021, will be eligible to apply for a grant”.
She added: “I would like to again extend my thanks to the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, credit unions and local authorities for their commitment to delivering at pace to ensure that private sector tenants could and can continue to access the support they need to prevent eviction into homelessness.”
When the Tenancy Hardship Grant was first announced, NRLA Chief Executive Ben Beadle said:
“The detail behind the announcement is a positive step for both landlords and tenants in Wales and will help keep people in their homes.
"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.”