The Scottish government is to introduce a £10 million grant fund to help tenants who have fallen into rent arrears during the Covid pandemic.

Announced by Deputy First Minister John Swinney (pictured) as part of a debate on passing the SNP government’s Coronavirus (Extension and Expiry) (Scotland) Bill.

Swinney says he expects the legislation to be ready within eight weeks and that the scheme will go live ‘later this year’.

“We will work with stakeholders over the coming weeks to develop the details. We will deliver a new national awareness-raising campaign to ensure that all tenants are aware of their rights,” he said.

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“Those crucially important interventions will help tenants and landlords to move towards a sustainable and fair recovery from the impact of the coronavirus.

But the new £10 million grant fund announcement did not pass without criticism. MSP Jackie Baillie pointed out that the previous tenant hardship “fund’s criteria are so tight that less than 5 per cent of the fund has been allocated and twice as many applications have been rejected as have been approved”.

Gaps

Citizen Advice Scotland, reacting to the announcement, said: “CAS is pleased to see the Scottish Government recognise the need for exactly this kind of support.

“Our evidence has shown consistently that people were still falling through the gaps, with rent arrears mounting up through factors completely out of their control.”

As LandlordZONE reported earlier this month, landlords in Scotland are worried that the Coronavirus Extension and Expiry Bill Coronavirus Extension and Expiry Bill would mean effectively extending the existing eviction ban much further than originally envisaged, possibly by an additional six months.

Read the debate in full.

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