Wales to help more tenants in arrears

The Welsh government is widening its £10m Tenancy Hardship Grant scheme so more tenants who have fallen into arrears can get support.

Previously the scheme only covered arrears built up before June 30 2021, but it now includes tenants who fallen behind on payments until December 2021.

Tenants are eligible if they have fallen at least two months behind on their rent because of the pandemic, with the money going directly to landlords.

Social housing tenants who were not receiving housing benefits when they accrued Covid-related rent arrears can also use the scheme.

Daryl McIntosh, policy manager at Propertymark, said: “The extension of eligibility criteria for the Tenancy Hardship Grant is welcome, and something we have called for to ensure that tenants placed under financial pressure during the pandemic can sustain their tenancies.

“We would encourage our members to highlight these changes to any tenants struggling with rent payments as a result of the pandemic and advise them to contact their local authority to apply.”

The scheme was widened after some tenants lost their jobs or income after the furlough scheme ended in September 2021, while the UK government also removed the Universal Credit uplift.

Some also lost income during lockdowns or due to becoming ill with Covid-19.

Ruth Power, chief executive of Shelter Cymru said: “We welcome the changes to the Tenancy Hardship Grant announced today.

“Widening the eligibility criteria will mean more people, who are struggling during the pandemic to pay their rent, are able to access support to keep their homes.

“Our advisors are working with people across Wales whose incomes have been seriously affected by the pandemic and who are really worried about the future.

“Getting money quickly to people in need will prevent families from becoming homeless.”

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