HOUSING UKRAINIAN REFUGEES

The government have agreed measures to assist with housing Ukrainian refugees under the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme. 

Under the scheme anyone wishing to house a refugee or a number of refugees can register on the government website with anyone making an offer being asked to offer a minimum of six months’ accommodation, which would need to be taken into consideration by both the tenant and the landlord before agreeing to be a host.

Hosts, whether landlords or tenants, will not be able to charge rent.  The government will hand out an optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month per residential property to hosts but some or all of this sum may be swallowed in expenses of the refugee until such time as benefits are in place.

Hosts and all adults in the sponsoring household will also be subject to standard security checks as part of the visa process.

The local council will visit the host household to check that the accommodation being offered is appropriate and that everything is in place for your guest(s). They will also conduct a Disclosure and Barring Service check on all adults in the household. This is typically required for people who work closely with children and vulnerable adults – teachers, doctors, social workers, civil servants – and is a simple, standard safety check. You will receive a certificate valid for two years. These checks and the process will be expedited.

For those who are hosting a Ukrainian family which includes a child or a vulnerable adult, an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check with Barred Lists check will be conducted.

What accommodation can be offered?

The offered accommodation must be a provision of at least six months of stable accommodation. This can be anything from an empty room to an unoccupied home, as long as it is safe, heated and free from health hazards, and gives the guests adequate access to bathroom and kitchen facilities.

  • The accommodation should be in an empty room
  • A bed in a shared space would not be an appropriate offer of accommodation for 6 months

Where landlords offer a property for the use of a refugee or refugees:

  • No rent may be charged
  • Right to rent checks need to be undertaken

If a tenant wants to offer accommodation,:

  • They will need to have a spare room available in their property (this may not be at the expense of other occupants being put into an over-crowding situation)
  • They will need to have the landlord’s consent
  • The tenant must have at least six months leave to remain in the UK if on a time limited visa
  • The tenant must undertake all Right to Rent checks
  • The tenant may not charge rent other than the payment from government
  • Council Tax Discounts and other benefits will not be affected by the £350 from the government.

Why would a landlord withhold consent?

  • The current tenancy may not be for a period longer than six months with the landlord unwilling to extend that period
  • A breakdown in landlord/tenant relationship may see the landlord unable to obtain possession of the property util the six months has expired
  • Where a property is subject to a licence for a House of Multiple Occupation, the landlord may not be able to permit occupation by any further adults.
  • The landlord’s insurance may prohibit housing of refugees although this can usually be purchased as an add-on where necessary.
  • The landlord’s finance on the property may prohibit the housing of refugees (this should be checked with the company concerned).

Where a landlord and tenant agree that a refugee can be housed, the tenant is responsible for all Right to Rent checks otherwise it is the responsibility of the landlord.

At The End of the Six Months:

When signing up for the scheme landlords and tenants are committing to hosting guests for a minimum of six months

  • The arrangement can continue beyond the initial six months by mutual consent of the landlord, tenant and guest
  • To cancel the agreement after six months, let your guest know in plenty of time (for example, one month) so they can make other arrangements. 
  • Ukrainian people on the scheme will have access to public funds during their time in the UK, and at the end of their sponsorship will be able to rent a property like anyone else. The local authority can assist with finding alternative accommodation in the usual way.