Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change
In July I launched the £10m Tenancy Hardship Grant for tenants in the private rented sector (PRS) who are in serious rent arrears as a result of the pandemic. Following discussions with local authorities and other partner organisations, I have decided to make the following changes to the Tenancy Hardship Grant.
The current eligibility period for arrears will be extended to include Covid-related arrears built up between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021, as well as the previously allowed Covid-related arrears built up from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2021. This means that tenants who lost their jobs following the removal of the furlough scheme in September, or who suffered a significant decrease in income when the Universal Credit uplift was removed by UK Government, and who were not in receipt of housing related costs, will be included.
I have also decided to extend the grant to include all social housing tenants who were not in receipt of housing-related benefits when they built up Covid-related rent arrears.
Now every tenant in Wales who has Covid-related arrears can apply for financial help to address those arrears, either through the Tenancy Hardship Grant, or Discretionary Housing Payments.
The Tenancy Hardship Grant is intended to allow tenants who are facing an imminent threat of eviction to stay in their home. The impact of being made homeless on people and families is huge – including support networks being lost, children having to move school, and families’ mental health and well-being suffering. In addition to the personal impact on adults and children, the cost to public services of dealing with impact of homelessness, rather than preventing it in the first place, is significantly higher. The grant should provide significant cost savings to each local authority in preventing homelessness and supporting people to remain in their homes and maintain their tenancies.
Funding will be available for this financial year and specifically to respond to the pandemic and it is important to emphasise that there will be no further extension of the Tenancy Hardship Grant. I would therefore urge all tenants who are experiencing hardship as a consequence of Covid-related rent arrears to apply to their local authority for the Tenancy Hardship Grant or the Discretionary Housing Payment grant.
People who are eligible for the Tenancy Hardship Grant can apply through their local authority: Tenancy Hardship Grant for private rented sector tenants: coronavirus | GOV.WALES
I would like to thank local authorities for continuing to work with us to support people affected by Coronavirus.