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A Tenancy Hardship Grant is to be introduced in Wales this months.
Designed to support people who have fallen behind on their rent by more than eight weeks between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2021, the grant is backed by a £10m fund.
The grant will be administered by local authorities, will be open to people who are not receiving housing-related benefits. It will replace the Tenancy Saver Loan, which was introduced in October 2020. Anyone who received a loan will have that loan converted to a grant.
People who are eligible can register their interest with their local authority immediately and grants will be processed from mid-July.
‘I understand the stress and worry people will be experiencing if they have fallen behind in their rent. We also know that once someone falls behind with their rent it can be increasingly difficult for them to catch up without support’, said Minister for Climate Change Julie James.
‘This grant helps to prevent homelessness by helping people address their rent arrears and keep their tenancies’.
‘We have made significant steps to reduce homelessness over the course of the pandemic, supporting more than 10,000 people into accommodation since the beginning of the pandemic.
‘To maintain this momentum, we will continue to provide vital funding to local authorities to prevent homelessness and to support people living in temporary accommodation to move into their own permanent and secure homes.
‘I urge anyone who is struggling to pay their rent – even if they’re just starting to have difficulties – to contact their landlord or agent and organisations like Citizen’s Advice or Shelter Cymru so they receive the right advice and support’.
The National Residential Landlords Association welcomed the move as a positive step for both landlords and tenants.
‘We welcome that the Welsh Government has listened to NRLA calls to introduce an improved scheme that will help more tenants pay their rent’, said chief executive Ben Beadle.
‘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’.