The Private Rent Sector Landlord COVID-19 Loan Scheme opened for applications on 5 May 2020. This is a loan scheme provided by the Scottish Government to those with rental properties in Scotland. In both Scotland and the rest of the UK, measures have been brought in to protect tenants who are struggling to pay rent. In Scotland, this is under the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 which protects tenants from any eviction action for six months. This loan scheme has been introduced to assist landlords with the loss of income that can result.
Eligible landlords will be entitled to an interest-free loan to cover lost rental income.
There are a number of points for landlords to consider and action before applying for the private rent sector landlord COVID-19 loan scheme
- Landlords facing difficulties with repayments on a mortgage for a rental property are expected to seek a mortgage repayment holiday from their lender before they apply for a loan.
- Where the landlord is applying for this loan in respect of loss arising from their tenant being unable to pay their rent, it is expected that they will have discussed rent issues with the tenant and reached agreement on managing rent arrears before they apply for the loan
- The application process requires landlords to confirm they understand the terms of the Coronavirus Act 2020 in relation to eviction proceedings, and that they have discussed rent issues with their tenant and reached agreement on managing arrears.
The loan is available for PRS landlords who:
- were, or had applied to become, registered before 01 February 2020;
- are not classified as businesses;
- have 5 or less properties available for rent
- properties available for rent are classed as being within the private rented sector (as per the terms of the 2006 Housing Scotland Act)
- have lost rental income as a result of tenants facing difficulty in paying rent as a result of the Covid-19 situation or where a rental property became vacant on or after 01 February 2020 and the landlord is unable to get a new tenant because of the restrictions currently in place.
How will it operate
The loan scheme funding may be used to pay the mortgage on a rental property where your mortgage lender is unwilling to provide a mortgage holiday or to pay living expenses that would usually be covered by the lost rental income. The scheme will only cover lost rental income for a single property although landlords will be able to indicate if they are losing rental income from more than one property which will assist the Government with understanding the scale of lost income and if there is a requirement for further help.
The loan will be interest-free and cover lost rental income for a period of up to 6 months, backdated to the 01 March 2020. An initial payment of half of the agreed amount will be available and landlords will be asked to verify the continued loss of income before the second instalment is paid.
Loan repayments will be deferred until October 2020, with the loan being repaid in 12 monthly instalments. This will be kept under review as the Covid-19 outbreak progresses. The loan can be fully repaid at any point and requests for extension of the payback period will be considered on a case by case basis.
The loan is intended to provide an option where other forms of financial support are unavailable to the landlord. Where a landlord is eligible for other forms of support – for example, the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – then they would be expected to take these up rather than apply for this loan.
The application process opened on 5 May and can be applied for at the following link. https://covidlandlordloan.est.org.uk/Home/Index
If you need any assistance, please contact Lucy.Crow@hlca.co.uk