A TENANT grant fund has been set up to provide financial help to East Ayrshire residents in social housing and in the private sector who are at risk of becoming homeless following the Covid-19 crisis.

The Scottish Government grants will help tenants who have struggled financially as a direct result of the pandemic, allowing them to reduce or pay-off any rent arrears they have built up.

The grants do not have to be repaid and are available to tenants in council, housing association or privately-rented accommodation.

Councillor for Cumnock and New Cumnock, Jacqui Todd, said: “The Tenant Grant Fund has been introduced to help with rent arrears that have built up between 23 March 23, 2020 and August 9, 2021 and can be used to make a full or partial payment of arrears.

“Our aim is to ensure funding is targeted towards supporting households who are at the greatest risk of becoming homeless or are threatened with homelessness.

“The scheme is designed to be flexible, however the funding is only available until next March. I would urge our local tenants, either in social housing or private lets, to get in touch as soon as possible and find out how we can help.”

Eligibility criteria has been set by the Scottish Government and includes that:

• The grants are limited to helping with rent arrears that built-up between March 23, 2020 and August9, 2021 to a maximum of 12 months within this period

• Grants can be used to make a full or partial payment of arrears depending on individual circumstances

• Grants will be targeted towards current tenants who are at risk of becoming homeless and do not have any other way of clearing the arrears

• Private Sector landlords should be registered on the Scottish Landlord Register

• Landlords should have carried out steps to resolve the issue before making an application in line with pre-action requirements

Payments will be made to landlords rather than tenants on the strict condition that the payment will be used to credit the tenant’s rent account, and that any ongoing proceedings to end the tenancy will be ceased.

Funding is available until Thursday, March 31, 2022.

Call the Housing Options Team on 01563 554400 option 5 and then option 2 and ask about the Tenant Grant Fund or email tenantgrantfund@east-ayrshire.gov.uk.