Industry News Tim Thomas 12/08/2022

NRLA providing insight for Ministerial roundtable around housing refugees

The NRLA is providing insight and expertise, as part of a UK Government industry roundtable on improving access to the Private Rented Sector for refugees. 

The discussions include support for Ukrainians after the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme as well as Afghan refugees.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) Minister for Refugees, Lord Richard Harrington, has called for the sector to identify key barriers and opportunities for those that are seeking refuge in the UK.  

The challenge is not only supporting those seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine, but refugees from the UK Governments Afghan resettlement programmes and concurrent refugees from Syria.

DLUHC are urging those who have already sponsored a Ukrainian family, to increase their sponsorship past the six-month period. Although it is recognised a great many Ukrainians will access the PRS.

NRLA’s action

The NRLA have highlighted factors that have contributed towards the limited supply of available properties in the PRS for refugees and any other marginalised group.  This has included changes in tax legislation for landlords, a failure to increase local housing allowance in line with market rent increases and proposals to restrict landlords’ ability to regain possession of landlord’s property.

The NRLA have also highlighted the ‘postcode lottery’ of support on offer for dealing with concerns that vulnerable tenants such as refugees may have. 

Many refugees have experienced trauma, are moving to unfamiliar surroundings and may have language and cultural barriers. To support landlords, round the clock support is required from specialist agencies.

Post Homes for Ukraine solutions

The vast scale of Ukrainian arrivals entering the UK, not to mention the many Afghan refugees already in temporary bridging accommodation, means the Government must urgently introduce radical measures to address the supply and demand issues across the private rented sector.

Proposals in discussion include the introduction of a deposit programme like that aimed at vulnerable low-income families and those at risk of homelessness, funding to reduce the gap in market rents for refugees, providing exemptions if periodic tenancies are introduced and involving local authorities in rent guarantee schemes.

The NRLA is also working in conjunction with several industry leaders to promote a realistic package of incentives for landlords to boost supply.

How landlords can help

The Government has set up an online portal to allow people to submit offers of housing support, for Afghan refugees. More about this, and what suitable accommodation may look like, can be read in this blog.

More information about the UK Government's Homes for Ukraine scheme can be read online here.


Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas Campaigns and Public Affairs Officer

Tim Thomas is the Campaigns and Public Affairs Officer for the NRLA. With almost fifteen years’ experience in policy and research roles in local authorities and the third sector, Tim takes a leading role on our campaigns to improve access to the Private Rented Sector. Tim’s campaigns have included campaigns to tackle homelessness, supporting the Afghan resettlement programme and promoting adaptations to private rented accommodation for tenants who require them.

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