Wales is quite different in the support it offers to tenants so here is an article setting out main sources of help. Note that the system in Wales is more centralised than in England.
Here are the three main sources of help for you if you are a Welsh tenant (living in Wales!).
Note that while the Welsh Discretionary Assistant fund and Utility bills will continue beyond Covid, the Tenancy saver loan currently will only run to September 2021
Welsh Discretionary Assistance Fund:
This fund scheme provides for two types of grants:
- Firstly, there is the Emergency Assistance Payment which is a grant that is for essential living costs such as gas & electricity bills. You cannot use it for ongoing payments that you cannot afford to pay, such as rent.
- Secondly, there is the Individual Assistance Payment which is a grant that is for people moving into a property. The grant is primarily used for furniture and ‘white goods’
The guidance and eligibility criteria can be found here
Tenancy Saver Loan:
A grant if you’ve had problems paying your rent due to a change in circumstance because of the pandemic. The change in circumstances has to be a drop in your income for you to be eligible so in situations such as:
- On a zero hours contract but working less hours
- Made redundant and starting a new job
- On statutory sick pay because you are self-isolating
If the loan is approved then the payment will be paid directly to your landlord or letting agent.
The eligibility rules are quite strict but the main points are that:
- You must be in rent arrears, which has been caused by a change in your circumstances due to the pandemic
- You were not in significant rent arrears prior to 1 March 2020
- You are renting from a landlord or agent who is registered and licensed with Rent Smart Wales
- You will be able to pay back the loan, based on the scheme affordability tes6t
- Not be in receipt of housing benefit or housing support
- Not have applied for a loan through this scheme before
Further details can be found here
Energy, Electricity & Water Bills:
If you are worried about your utility bills, make sure to check out your utility suppliers website as some have schemes and funds available. Companies usually have support in a variety of ways such as:
- Reduced bills or debt repayments
- A change to your bill payment plan
- Cap on how much the household can pay
- A temporary break in the bills and debt repayment
For example, Welsh Water have four schemes as a way to reduce costs for tenants. Note for English tenants, that your utility company may be able to help you too.
As well as these, Welsh tenants also have available to them Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) & Local Housing Allowance’s from local authorities, the same as in England.