Welsh Tenancy Saver Loan scheme paid directly to Landlords or Agents!

by Nick Thompson

13:48 PM, 7th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Welsh Tenancy Saver Loan scheme paid directly to Landlords or Agents!

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Welsh Tenancy Saver Loan scheme paid directly to Landlords or Agents!

A new £8 million Welsh Government Tenancy Saver Loan scheme to help tenants struggling with rent arrears due to coronavirus has launched by Minister for Housing and Local Government Julie James.

First of its kind in the UK, the Tenancy Saver Loan scheme will be open to private rented sector tenants in rent arrears and those who may also struggle to pay future months’ rent as a result of coronavirus; it will be open until March 31st 2021.

Paid directly to landlords or agents, the scheme will offer 1% APR loans to be repaid over a period of up to 5 years and will provide an affordable way to cover rent arrears, or future months’ rent, reducing the risk of eviction and homelessness. Once a tenant has applied for the loan they will be able to access support and advice services to help them manage their financial situation.

Managed by Wales Council for Voluntary Action, the loans will be provided by seven Credit Unions across Wales.

The Credit Unions will firstly work with tenants to find out whether they’re eligible for the loan scheme and how much they could afford to repay. If the scheme is suitable for the tenant, then the Credit Unions will provide them with support for the duration of the loan repayment term.

Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James said: “We recognise the constant pressure that the coronavirus is putting on tenants and landlords. While we have already taken steps to alleviate some of this pressure, such as extending the temporary six month notice period for eviction and funding Citizens Advice Cymru to deliver the Early Alert Scheme for rent arrears and other household debt for tenants, we want to go one step further. That’s why we’re supporting a low interest loan scheme that provides financial assistance for both tenants and their landlords.

“The Tenancy Saver Loan Scheme will directly support tenants who are struggling with their rent due to coronavirus to stay in their homes, address their debt and avoid eviction, whilst ensuring landlords receive the rent they are owed.

“We are committed to ensuring no-one is made homeless as a result of the pandemic and this scheme is part of our long term strategy to help people manage their debt, prevent homelessness and where it cannot be prevented ensure it is rare, brief and non-recurrent.”

Following the announcement, NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle said: “We have called for a tenant loan scheme throughout the pandemic are delighted the Welsh Government has implemented a scheme to help both landlords and tenants

“These loans will help keep tenants who have been affected by coronavirus in their homes, while supporting landlords reliant on rental income to pay their own bills.

“We would advise every landlord with a tenant in arrears to make sure they are aware of the new scheme and advise any landlord in receipt of these payments to commit to working with their tenant to maintain the tenancy in the long term.”

Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager, ARLA Propertymark comments: “The launch of this scheme is good news for the sector and will help sustain tenancies and keep the rent flowing across Wales. Throughout the pandemic, ARLA Propertymark has highlighted issues affecting letting agents and campaigned for additional support, so it is really positive that the Welsh Government has listened and taken action. Agents in Wales should continue to work closely with landlords and tenants and raise awareness of the scheme to ensure that tenants who need help during this challenging time, receive it.”

Policy officer for Credit Unions of Wales Claire Savage said: “Seven credit unions will be providing the Tenancy Saver Loans across Wales, working with Welsh Government and the WCVA to provide a financial lifeline to those who have fallen into rent arrears due to the Covid-19 pandemic and are not able to get other forms of support.

“The loans are offered at a very low interest rate of just 1% APR and will be subject to the usual affordability checks to ensure that we are helping private sector tenants keep their homes while not building up unsustainable debt.”

The launch of the new scheme comes as the Welsh Government begins the next phase of its Housing Advice digital campaign focusing on renters who are struggling to pay their rent, at threat of eviction or at risk of redundancy.

Manager of Cambrian Credit Union Ann Francis, which is covering the majority of counties in Wales, said: “Credit unions work closely with our communities and have already been approached by both tenants in the private sector and their landlords following the initial announcement about this scheme by the Minister for Housing and Local Government.

“We would stress that this is a loan scheme of last resort and not a grant, so it may be that not every applicant will receive a loan, but credit unions will be making referrals to appropriate bodies to ensure that private tenants are signposted to the help they need.”

Rebecca Woolley, Director, Citizens Advice Wales, said: “We know that the Coronavirus crisis has caused financial difficulties for families across Wales, and we’re pleased that the Welsh Government has recognised the importance of providing a package of support specifically for renters in the private sector to ensure that the pandemic doesn’t force families from their homes.

“Any private sector tenant worried about paying their rent can contact Citizens Advice Cymru’s Private Rented Sector helpline for impartial and confidential advice on 0300 330 2177.”

Chief executive of Shelter Cymru, Ruth Power said: “The Covid-19 crisis has created unprecedented stress and hardship for people privately renting across Wales. We welcome any additional steps by the Welsh Government to reduce the risk of private tenants becoming homeless. While it will not be suitable for everyone, for some people facing a period of financial difficulty the scheme has the potential to offer much needed financial respite, which may prevent homelessness. We are committed to working with the Welsh Government and partners to minimise the impact of Covid on tenants’ lives.”


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Comments

Chris Bradley

9:22 AM, 8th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

This came on my Facebook feeds and all the comments are negative. Indicating that tenants should just stop paying as they will never be able to pay back the loan, so advising people not to take it. Facebook is going to encourage sensible tenants to just stop paying rent. So angry

Kathy Evans

9:48 AM, 8th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris Bradley at 08/10/2020 - 09:22
Since FB is so big on censorship, perhaps the comments should be reported for encouraging illegal acts. Also make a list of all those advocating that behaviour from their profiles and make sure you never rent to them.

Dr Rosalind Beck

10:02 AM, 8th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

As the person who brought this idea to the attention of the NRLA who then lobbied the Welsh Government on it and are now lobbying the Westminster Government also, I have to say that - notwithstanding possible unintended consequences, such as tenants deciding not to pay the rent - it is in any case not a panacea.

One particular drawback is that it doesn't include helping landlords stuck with the 'won't pay' rogue tenants. These people won't help landlords by claiming it (and only tenants can claim it despite it being landlords who bear the losses) and also even if they did, they'd be seen as a 'poor bet' and most likely would be refused it.

So it is at best a partial compensation scheme only applicable to tenants who quite likely would have paid their debts to their landlords at some point anyway.

It also misses the point. Government policy has enabled rogue tenants - and others who now decide to turn rogue given the incentive of no possession for 2 years - to live rent-free. The Government has then come up with something which will not 'hit the target' that needs to be hit.

No justice here for landlords, many of whom will be ruined by criminals, empowered by the Government to steal from them day in, day out, while often they also are wrecking the landlords' private property - over which they have lost complete control, courtesy of the Government, who constantly boast how they are so generously 'protecting renters.'

JB

10:52 AM, 8th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Landlords must be able to get rid of bad tenants quickly otherwise GOOD TENANTS as well as landlords will pick up the tab. Good tenants will suffer as rents go up, less housing is available and landlords rerfuse to take any tenant who is in the slightest bit risky.


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