There have been a growing number of enquiries relating to the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ initiative and the availability of existing tenants becoming sponsors. Many tenants within the UK are eager to help where possible and have enquired about opening their homes to people who has been displaced as a result of the ongoing conflict in their home country.
The scheme opens on Friday 18 March for visa applications from Ukrainians and immediate family members who already have named people willing to sponsor them. People wanting to be sponsors who do not know anyone personally fleeing Ukraine can also record their interest about becoming a host, which many people has started to do.
Paul Offley, Compliance Officer of The Guild of Property Professionals, says: “It is encouraging to see the number of people who are stepping forward with offers of help at this difficult time. Due to the high volume of enquiries from tenants, we have had several lettings agents contact us regarding the initiative asking for guidance. Our advice, as per the instructions we received from DLUHC, is that where a tenant would like to offer a room, they will firstly need to have an extra room available in their property. They would, of course, also require the consent of the landlord before they go ahead with the process of taking part in the initiative. The DLUHC have stated that sponsors will be 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.”
Offley adds that it is essential that both parties, being the tenant and landlord, agree and understand that they are committing to the minimum six-month period. This means that a landlord may have difficulty if they wish to end the tenancy at an earlier date.
“Our contacts at the DLUHC have advised that they are currently in the process of working on providing more detailed guidance, which should be published within the next day or two. This guidance will include information around the status of the arrangement, required accommodation standards and the checks that will be done on the sponsor, as well as the person they will be hosting. It is important to remember that the sponsor will have to be matched to the person they are hosting,” says Offley.
He adds that the tenant will not be able to charge the person they are hosting rent, however, the government will be providing an optional ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month to people who are hosting someone.