The Scottish Government has been told it must move faster on the tenant hardship grant fund to protect renters.
The fund was introduced as a replacement for a similar scheme that would provide loans to renters hit by the pandemic.
The announcement was made on June 22 by Covid recovery secretary John Swinney but the scheme is yet to open.
Scottish Labour housing spokesman Mark Griffin has written to housing Secretary Shona Robison, urging the Scottish Government to launch the scheme “as quickly as possible”.
Griffin also takes aim at the loan scheme, which has approved just 20.5% of applications, with 142 people told their credit score is not high enough for the loan following appeal.
In his letter, the MSP said: “It has been three months since the evictions ban ended, and two months since the grant scheme was announced – but tenants are still waiting.
“We are already seeing the effects of the end of the evictions ban, with evictions in the social rented sector increasing six-fold last quarter. This is a matter of urgency.
“The Tenant Hardship Loan Scheme is woefully inadequate. Not only is its success rate dismal, but ultimately forcing tenants to pay off debt with more debt is not a sustainable solution. The grant scheme must be set up as a matter of urgency.
“Hundreds of applicants have been rejected or refused from the loan scheme – more than twice as many as were successful – and many of these rejections were the result of failed credit checks.
“It is not unreasonable to comprehend that renters who were in such a dire financial position that they were in arrears, and seeking support from the government, may not have satisfactory credit records.
“Given the scale of refusals, it is imperative that a process of actively reviewing refused or rejected loan applications is undertaken and those refused assessed for suitability under the grant scheme.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Details of the £10m grant fund scheme, designed to help tenants who have been financially impacted by the pandemic, are being developed at pace and we will provide further information in due course.
“The grant scheme is additional to our £10m Tenant Loan Fund.”
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