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COVID-19: latest update on how our services are affected and the support available

COVID-19: latest update on how our services are affected and the support available

Tenant Covid Hardship Fund Launched in South Ayrshire

Housing - School Gardens development 400 x 400

South Ayrshire Council has received around £190k from the Scottish Government to help tenants at risk of becoming homeless due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants, which would cover rent arrears, are available to tenants in Council housing, as well as those in housing association or privately rented accommodation. In cases where an award is made, the money does not have to be paid back.

The scheme is designed to be flexible, however, the Scottish Government has set eligibility criteria:

·The grants are limited to helping with rent arrears that built-up between 23 March 2020 and 9 August 2021, along with any exceptional circumstances beyond this date.

·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.

Council tenants who are eligible for the grant will be contacted by their Housing Officer. In the meantime, if you would like more information regarding the scheme, you can contact your Housing Officer on 0300 123 0900 or email HRAST@south-ayrshire.gov.uk

If you are a housing association tenant, or tenant of a private landlord and are eligible for the grant, please ensure you contact your landlord in the first instance.

Landlords can also apply, but on the strict condition that any payment is used to credit the tenant's rent account. The Scottish Government's conditions for landlords are as follows:

·Private sector landlords should be registered on the Scottish Landlord Register.

·Landlords should have carried out steps to resolve the issue before making an application in line with pre-action requirements.

·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 with prior agreement of this confirmed and acknowledged.

Landlords, letting agents or third sector organisations should email requests to housingoptionsteam@south-ayrshire.gov.uk

Councillor Philip Saxton, Housing and Community Wellbeing Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "It has been really tough for tenants who have lost their jobs or are working reduced hours due to the pandemic. We want to make sure no tenant is made homeless, so this is a welcome announcement. The opportunity to apply for funding finishes at the end of March next year, so I would encourage anyone who is struggling to either contact their landlord or Council Housing Officer."