As part of the government’s support for businesses in the Coronavirus crisis, those in the retail sector operating from premises where the rateable value is between £18,001 and £51,000 are eligible to apply to the “Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)” for a business support grant of £25,000, from their local authority.
Several letting agents who applied for this grant told us that their applications had been rejected on the basis that they are not qualifying businesses, despite the retail/leisure/hospitality business rates relief extending to letting agents.
Thanks to lobbying from SAL we are delighted to report that the Scottish Government has now changed its guidance to local authorities on the definition of letting agents that qualify for this grant.
It is at the discretion of local authorities whether to offer the grant but we are now hearing of agents whose applications had previously been rejected now being given the grant.
The Scottish Government today (9 June) told us this:
Letting & marketing property is considered to be a form of retail activity, whereas the other services commonly offered by letting agents (such as landlord, legal, or other professional services) are not considered to be retail, hospitality or leisure activities. If a letting agent is mainly dedicated to letting property – i.e. a retail purpose – then local authorities may use their discretion to award the grant (provided other qualifying criteria are met). It is up to local authorities how they determine the main use of a property.”
Details of how to apply can be found at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus-advice/sources-of-funding. Any businesses whose applications have previously been rejected are advised to now appeal that decision using this information.