Funding worth £10m has been given to councils to try and prevent the eviction of tenants.
The Scottish Government has provided the money to be used as grants for people at risk of homelessness due to rent arrears built up during the pandemic.
Grants will be available for hard-up tenants in both the private and social rented sectors to reduce or pay off debts.
The grants will be available until the end of March 2022 and councils will be able to award funding on a discretionary basis, based on individual circumstances rather than a formal application process.
Housing secretary Shona Robison said: “We have been doing all we can to support tenants who are struggling as a result of the pandemic and this latest funding takes our total housing support to almost £39m.
“These grants will support tenants and landlords who are willing to work together to address rent arrears and agree a repayment plan to ensure the tenant is able to avoid eviction.
“Councils have substantial experience in supporting people who have fallen behind on their rent and are therefore well-placed to work with both tenants and landlords in making use of this grant fund.
“Anyone who has been financially impacted by the pandemic and needs help to avoid eviction should contact their local authority housing department to discuss their circumstances.”
Cosla’s community wellbeing spokeswoman, councillor Kelly Parry, said: “We are working closely with the Scottish Government to support tenants through the grant fund.
“The pandemic has resulted in some facing a significant loss of income which has resulted in a proportion of these developing rent arrears.
“The fund is limited and therefore will be targeted at those most at risk of eviction, but will allow local authorities, tenants and landlords to work together to stay in their homes and prevent homelessness.
“Councils have a lead role in supporting a fair and inclusive recovery. Enabling people to sustain their tenancies helps maintain their important community connections.”
Nina Ballantyne, from Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “The Citizens Advice network saw a real spike in demand for housing-related advice during the pandemic.
“Our analysis suggests almost 300,000 people in Scotland missed a housing payment last year because they ran out of money before pay day.
“We called for more support for tenants and are delighted to see this fund launch – we’d now encourage people to seek advice on what support is right for them and make use of all the options available.”
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