Tenant hardship grant and loan funds

The Scottish Government has introduced two funds to help tenants with rent arrears. These are to support tenants whose income went down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two funds are:

  • a tenant hardship grant - this does not need to be repaid

  • a tenant hardship loan - this is paid back over 5 years. It is interest free. Repayments start 6 months after the loan is paid

Both funds are for people who rent from:

  • a private landlord or letting agent

  • a housing association

  • the council

About the grant

The grant can pay for rent arrears between 23 March 2020 and 9 August 2021.

It is a one off payment. The money is paid directly to your landlord so that any benefits you receive are not affected.

How to apply for the grant

The fund is paid by your local council.

The council will decide if the grant fund is right for your circumstances. They can pay off some or all of your arrears. If the grant only covers some of the money you owe, the council should work with you and your landlord. They should help you to agree a repayment plan with your landlord so that you can pay off the rest.

If the council do not think the grant fund is right for you, they should offer you alternatives, such as:

  • making an affordable repayment plan with your landlord

  • where to get advice on benefits

  • what other funds that could help you, such as the loan fund or the discretionary housing payment

Contact your local council’s housing department to apply for the grant fund.

Protection against eviction

Your landlord will have to agree not to evict you over your current rent arrears if you are to receive the grant money. 

If you get into further rent arrears after receiving the grant, this agreement will no longer apply.

Alternatives to the grant

If you contact the council and they do not award you the grant, you could:

  • speak to a money and debt adviser who can help you manage your finances

  • apply for benefits, such as universal credit

  • apply for the discretionary housing payment if you are eligible for certain benefits

  • apply for the tenant hardship loan fund

Check if you're entitled to benefits

Use the Turn2us benefit calculator

You’ll need information on your household’s:

  • income and savings

  • outgoings, such as rent

  • existing benefits and pensions

  • council tax bill

Get help managing your money

Services that can help with budgeting, applying for benefits, and debt:

COVID-19 Self Isolation Support Grant

You may qualify for a £500 single payment if you're losing income because you have to self isolate and you cannot work from home.

You need to apply for this grant through your local council. Check if you're eligible and find out how to apply for a Self Isolation Support Grant on mygov.scot

About the loan fund

The loan fund is distributed by the Scottish Government. It is to help people who do not qualify for benefits or the hardship grant fund. The fund is for people whose income will go back to normal after the pandemic.

The loan is interest free, and you will need to pay the money back. If you are entitled to other help towards your rent, it is likely this will be more suitable for you than the loan fund.

The loan fund is for rent arrears from January 2020. You can borrow up to 9 months of rent. This can include a maximum of 3 months future rent payments.

The loan can be paid:

  • directly to you or

  • to your landlord

If the loan is paid to you, you will need to show the loan fund that the money was then paid to your landlord.

Your repayment amount will be the total you borrowed divided by 60. Repayments will begin 6 months after the loan is paid to you. It is then paid back over 5 years. You can also pay the loan off in full at any time.

Applying for the loan

You can apply online for the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund.

Before applying you must have sought money advice on whether the loan is right for you. A credit check will be carried out as part of the application process.

How to work out your budget

National Debtline Scotland has an easy to use online Budgeting Tool which you can use to work out your monthly budget.

It can be useful to have all the details of what money you have coming into your home along with details to hand of your rent, bills and any other expenses when you use this tool.

The tool allows you to save a copy and/or print out the information for later use.

Protection from eviction

If you have a private landlord, they will have to agree not to evict you on certain grounds as a condition of the loan being awarded. If they have already started the eviction process, they must agree not to proceed.

These grounds are:

  • rent arrears

  • where the landlord or a family member intends to move in

  • the landlord intends to sell the property

  • the landlord intends to use the property for any other purpose than housing

Find more information on eviction grounds for private tenants.

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help. Get Help

Last updated: 27 September 2021

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England