Publication - Minutes

Private Rented Sector Resilience Group minutes: 8 February 2021

Published: 2 Jul 2021
Date of meeting: 8 Feb 2021

Minutes of the 8 February 2021 meeting of the Private Rented Sector Resilience Group.

Published:
2 Jul 2021
Private Rented Sector Resilience Group minutes: 8 February 2021

Attendees and apologies

  • Alice Tooms-Moore, Shelter Scotland
  • Debbie King, Shelter Scotland
  • Duncan Thomson, Glasgow City Council
  • Emma Anderson, North Ayrshire Council
  • Laura Caven, COSLA
  • Katrina Reid, Public Health Scotland
  • Chris McKee, City of Edinburgh Council
  • Nina Ballantyne, Citizen Advice Scotland (CAS) - Chair
  • Tony Cain, ALACHO
  • Ross Anderson, guest from ALACHO
  • Aoife Deery, Citizen Advice Scotland (CAS)
  • Amanda Callaghan, SG
  • Charlotte McHaffie
  • Denise Buchanan, SG
  • Mandy Brown (secretariat)

Apologies:

  • Colin McRae, Dundee City Council
  • Yvonne Gavan, SG

Items and actions

Note of previous meeting and action log

The group was content with the note of the previous meeting.

Action log:

Action 9 Police Scotland: PHS to contact Police Scotland about ongoing discussions about illegal evictions.

Action 85 Landlord Loan Fund: There is a different nature of eligibility for this fund compared to the THLF.  Additionally, some landlords are excluded due to restrictions regarding eligibility for the Landlord Loan Fund.

Action 104 DHPs: COSLA have contacted SG DHP team for an update on the current position

Action 107 recommendations to Minister: Group could consider whether to update the recommendations which were sent from the PRS group to Minister as there has been a number of updates since then, including DHP action plan, THLF and PARs. 

Action 118 Winter Warmer Payment:  SG advised this was to help cope with the winter weather and was a limited fund, on first come first served basis.  This was administered by Homeless Network Scotland for people living in temporary accommodation

Action 119 section 11 notices: SG talked to their homelessness team and not aware that this information was ever collected, although could consider doing so.  Suggestion was made that this could be considered as part of the review of the Government homelessness statisticsSG homelessness team member will attend a future meeting

Action 121 NRPF: COSLA to check their papers and see if can provide an update

Action 128 Frequency of meetings:  PRS will continue to meet fortnightly for now but will keep under review

Action 131 PRS toolkit: PHS have contacted SG for any updates and information on timescales

Action 134 newsletters: Opportunities to use local authority newsletters etc to disseminate information on updates for landlords.

SG asked the group to consider what their role could be in this.

Shelter commented that it is important to consider how information reaches tenants and CAS noted that Tenancy Deposit Schemes have helped to distribute information to tenants. 

Action 141 Tenant Hardship Loan Fund: As of 1 February, 516 applications received and 52 loans offered.  While 130 applications have been rejected, mainly due to affordability and credit scorings.  Applicants are informed of other benefits which they could consider applying for should they not be eligible for this loan.  SG will keep members updated on the THLF.

Action 146 Future of groups and membership: follow up bilaterally with officials.

Action 148 Access to Justice: SG to check whether access to justice for tenants is included in Housing to 2040. Noted that this is still at draft stage, so may not make the final version which is likely to be published mid – March 2021.  SG is happy to follow up on any further questions on Housing to 2040.

Action 149  Pre-Action Requirements evaluation: SG are currently considering how to evaluate the impact of the PARs and exploring if and in what form they can continue beyond the emergency period (September 2021).  SG would welcome any suggestions from members.  Additionally, PHS are at early stages of considering the lived experiences of the First Tier Tribunal.  PHS will follow up with SG.

Update on Terms of Reference

Action 155: CAS will circulate the final version of the TOR to the group. SG will then publish the final version of the TOR alongside the notes.

Final approval on redrafted letters to Secretary of State

Action 156: Group content with the draft letters and the final versions will be signed from CAS as Chair of the PRS group. Please feedback to CAS if any of your colleagues have any last minute concerns.  CAS will send the letters next week and CAS also plan to update on their social media channels.  CAS will notify members of their social media plans.

Discussion of Eviction Enforcement Ban and the Emergency Coronavirus Act

Actions 157: SG to confirm whether the date for the extended notice period to be considered by Parliament is 11 February.

Important to provide tenants, who have rent arrears, information on independent advice services who can offer support and assistance. SG to consider whether this could be included in the review of the PARs.

CAS will map out the various pathways which tenants could be on as a direct result of COVID and will consider where interventions are possible and what support is available.  If anyone is interested on working with CAS on this then please get in touch.

The group will discuss what happens at the end of the eviction ban and any solutions and recommendations from members at the next PRS meeting.

SG requested that members share any evidence about how the eviction ban and Coronavirus Act are working in practice, since these are reviewed every three weeks, so helpful for Parliament to receive evidence and information which will help to inform them.

Discussion of SG budget

Action 158: SG advised that £71m from the DHP pot has been allocated to mitigate the bedroom tax, with £10.9m for other DHP spend.  SG will check these figures and whether colleagues can provide any additional information.  SG will also confirm whether this is more or less than the previous year.

Chairs Meeting with Minister

Action 159:  Minister is interested in any group feedback on the emergency powers

AOB:

Action 160: Landlords are offering properties to new tenants with reduction for first three months’ rent.  SG will check the legal position and whether allowed to increase rent within the first 12 months. 

Date and Time of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Monday 22 February from 2pm until 4pm.

Action 161: Please contact CAS with any suggestions for the future agenda items