Welsh Government to help people in arrears pay their rent

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date of publication: Thursday 13 January 2022

Anyone who has fallen behind on their rent payments due to the pandemic are being urged to contact local authorities to see if they can get financial help to avoid eviction.

The advocacy aims to keep people at home and close to their social networks to avoid the devastating impact that homelessness can have on physical, mental and social well-being.

First announced in July last year, new changes to the £10m Tenancy Hardship grant announced today mean anyone facing arrears due to coronavirus-related causes from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 until December 2021, He can submit.

This means that tenants who had rent arrears because they lost their jobs after the rent scheme was scrapped in September, or who suffered a significant drop in income when the UK government scrapped the Universal Credit Lift, may now qualify under the new criteria.

Other examples of rent arrears as a direct result of the pandemic include lost income due to closures or due to illness with Covid-19.

Social housing tenants who do not receive housing-related benefits can now apply. Tenants in private rented accommodation are still encouraged to apply.

Adrian of Rhondda Cynon Taf, 50, works in his local restaurant and was earning between £1,100 and £1,300 before the pandemic. As he only worked for his company for nine months, his payments were reduced to around £700 a month under the sabbatical scheme.

Adrian said:

I was well aware that my biggest bill was my rent, so I called the landlord when I started struggling to keep up with the payments. With the outbreak of the pandemic, this put me under a lot of pressure and I was worried that I would lose my home. By the time the country started to open up and I went back to work, I owed about £5,000 in rent. I felt like an insurmountable amount of money to pay during a time when all my bills were piling up. I always paid my rent on time so it was really stressful to find myself in this situation.

I heard about the scholarship over the radio so I reached out to the board to see if I could apply for it. When I found out I qualified I felt like I was carrying a heavy weight off my shoulder, I felt ecstatic. Suddenly I was able to talk to my landlord again and be fine, knowing that I no longer owed them and that I wouldn’t lose my house. The satisfaction was enormous. I feel like I can go on with my life right now in a positive light. I feel like I was listened to and helped in a time of crisis.

Extending the scholarship will make all the difference and do exactly what is stated on the tin, which is to help people like me get back on my feet.

Climate Change Minister Julie James said:

I urge anyone facing eviction or defaulting on their rent due to the pandemic to contact local authorities today to find out what help is available to them.

The £10m Tenancy Hardship grant will help prevent evictions and support tenants to stay in their homes. The impact of homelessness on people and families is significant – including the loss of support networks, children having to commute to school, and family psychological distress and well-being. We want to do everything we can to help avoid this situation.

The grant should provide significant cost savings to each local authority in preventing homelessness and supporting people to stay in their homes and maintain their rents.

Ruth Power, CEO of Shelter Cymru, said:

We welcome the changes to the Tenancy Hardship Scholarship announced today. Expanding the eligibility criteria will mean that more people, who are struggling during the pandemic to pay rent, will be able to access support to keep their homes. Our consultants are working with people across Wales whose incomes have been seriously affected by the pandemic and are really concerned about the future. Getting money quickly to those in need will prevent families from becoming homeless.

Applications are now open, and the rental support deadline is December 31, 2021.

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