Support for tenants with Covid-19 rent arrears

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Help is on hand for Lochaber tenants in social housing and the private sector who are at risk of becoming homeless after falling behind with rent payments during the pandemic.

The Tenant Grant Fund will help tenants who have struggled financially as a direct result of the pandemic, allowing them to reduce or pay-off any rent arrears they have built up.

The grants do not have to be repaid and are available to tenants in council, housing association or privately rented accommodation.

Highland Council has received an allocation of £296,000 from the Scottish Government which is only available until March 31, 2022.

The scheme is designed to be flexible but there is an eligibility criteria set by the Scottish Government:

• The grants are limited to helping with rent arrears that built-up between March 23, 2020 and August 9, 2021
• Grants can be used to make a full or partial payment of arrears depending on individual circumstances
• Grants will be targeted towards current tenants who are at risk of becoming homeless and do not have any other way of clearing the arrears
• Payments will be made to landlords rather than tenants on the strict condition that the payment will be used to credit the tenant’s rent account, and that any ongoing proceedings to end the tenancy will be ceased.

Leader of the Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson said: ‘We are well aware of the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the support offered by the council has been essential in sustaining tenancies.

‘We are now in a position to consider enquiries relating to the Tenant Grant Fund. Initial enquiries can be made to housing.policyteam@highland.gov.uk by tenants, landlords or third party organisations that are supporting either a tenant or landlord.

‘Highland looks forward to working with tenants and landlords to support them at this difficult time.’

For advice and assistance, Highland Council recommends contacting landlords or the Citizens Advice Bureau or Highland Council Welfare Support Team.