Tenant Saver Loans paid directly to agents and landlords in Wales

Today, 11 August 2020, the Welsh Government announced the introduction of their new Tenant Saver Loan Scheme, which will be made available from the beginning of September to support those most affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Providing financial support, this loan scheme is designed to help those in the private rented sector who are experiencing rent arrears since 1 March 2020, or in danger of getting into rent arrears, as a direct result of COVID-19. There is no cap set on the amount a tenant can borrow.

The Welsh Government is still finalising the details, but ARLA Propertymark understands that the scheme will work by the tenant applying for the loan with support from the landlord. Applicants will be required to provide evidence that they can afford the scheme and have the ability to re-pay. Once approved, the funds are transferred directly to either the landlord or letting agent. There is no limit on what a tenant can borrow, providing the loan repayments are affordable and will be charged at an interest rate of 1 per cent APR paid over a period of up to five years.

The scheme will be administered by Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and delivered through credit unions who will conduct checks to audit applications, using, for example, tenancy agreements and personal identification.

Whilst tenants cannot be forced to apply for the support, the Welsh Government expects one-off applications to be made subject to later developments concerning the spread of the virus, the impact on employment, and the existing furlough scheme.

A press release from the Welsh Government says that the new Tenant Saver Loan Scheme will provide an affordable way to cover rent arrears, or future months’ rent, reducing the risk of eviction and homelessness. These loans will be paid directly to landlords and are available for tenants who were not in significant rent arrears prior to 1 March this year. Paying the monies directly to the agent or landlord will provide assurance that rent arrears will be covered, and will remove the threat of eviction for rent arrears.

The introduction of the Tenant Saver Loan Scheme is good news and will bring welcome relief for tenants, landlords, and agents. It is pleasing that the Welsh Government has continued to engage with stakeholders from across the sector and listened to our calls for targeted support to help those in genuine need because of the impact of coronavirus. Since the start of the pandemic, we have encouraged all parties to show flexibility and to work together particularly when it comes to rent payments. The scheme will play an important part in this and help to sustain tenancies and keep the rent flowing
Timothy Douglas Policy and Campaigns Manager | Propertymark

Tenant Saver Loans have been introduced in addition to the Welsh Government’s July announcement of an extra £1.4 million to help tenants boost their household income and manage problem debt, through the Single Advice Fund.