Scottish landlords’ rent arrears increased slightly last month, while the number of households in temporary accommodation also rose.
The Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR)’s August monthly dashboard report, which is designed to help the Scottish government and social landlords understand the continuing impact of the pandemic, showed that rent arrears ticked up from 6.33 per cent in July to 6.37 per cent in August – equivalent to just over £165m.
There was also a further increase in the number of households in temporary accommodation – 14,383 households were in temporary accommodation at the end of August, compared with 14,174 at the end of July.
However, the number of people who applied as homeless to local authorities fell for the first time since the regulator started collecting monthly returns from social landlords in April, with a 2 per cent reduction compared to July.
Almost 9,500 homes remained empty at the end of August, even though landlords let almost 600 more homes than in July.
In terms of staffing, 765 housing association staff were placed on furlough during August, down from 1,131 in July. The total percentage of staff on furlough dropped from 12.46 per cent in April to 5.78 per cent in August.
Last week, Ian Brennan, director of regulation at the SHR, said “challenges remain ahead” for the sector in a speech to Social Housing’s Scotland conference.
“We recognise the scale of the issues facing landlords in dealing with the needs of people who are or may become homeless and we will consider this in our risk assessment,” he said.
“Sector finances have remained strong throughout the pandemic but we will engage with individual landlords where we feel that we need more information to understand how the pandemic is impacting upon financial health.”