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A new £8m scheme to help private rented sector tenants in Wales who have suffered financially because of the Coronavirus pandemic will be open until 31 March next year, the Welsh Government has announced.
The Tenancy Saver Loan scheme, announced in August and launched this week, aims to help tenants struggling with rent arrears and those who may also struggle to pay future months’ rent as a result of Coronavirus. It will not be available to tenants who had built up arrears of over two months’ rent before the pandemic hit at the beginning of March.
Paid directly to landlords or agents, the scheme will offer 1 per cent APR loans to be repaid over a period of up to five years and, said Wales’ Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James, will provide an affordable way to cover rent arrears, or future months’ rent, reducing the risk of eviction and homelessness.
Managed by Wales Council for Voluntary Action, the loans will be provided by seven Credit Unions across Wales. Eligibility checks will include assessments of tenants’ ability to repay loans.
‘We recognise the constant pressure that the Coronavirus is putting on tenants and landlords’, said James. ‘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’.