The Scottish Association of Landlords is urging the government to pay rent arrears grants direct to landlords as a way to address hardship in the sector.
The country’s new £10 million grant fund to support those needing help to pay rent as a direct result of Covid was announced last month and should help those unable to access the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund.
“It will hopefully be launched by the end of the year and we are pushing for this money to be paid directly to landlords,” chief executive John Blackwood tells LandlordZONE.
Many of these tenants have not managed to access the £10 million loan fund due to stringent criteria and credit checks.
“A loan suits the tenants in the PRS who have lost their jobs but are likely to get another one, but because it has to be paid back, it’s not for everyone,” says Blackwood.
Temporary restrictions on evictions in Scotland have been extended to 31st March 2022, with the potential to be extended until 30 September 2022, but Blackwood says landlords seem to be working well with tenants to come to agreements over arrears.
“Although landlords are suffering, many have seen the benefit of working with their tenants to sustain the tenancy and avoid eviction.”
Learn from Scotland
As the government in England looks to spend up to £100,000 investigating how best to set up a national register, it could take learnings from Scotland’s landlord registration scheme according to Blackwood, who believes it should be utilised properly to reap the benefits.
The country’s approach – delegating the register to 32 local authorities – is not as effective as a national register and, like selective licensing schemes in England, rogue landlords probably don’t join up.
Blackwood adds: “It could be an excellent way of disseminating information to landlords as many are unaware of their legal responsibilities, but sadly some authorities fail to see the benefit of using the register to engage proactively with local landlords.”