Industry News Meera Chindooroy 14/03/2022

UK Government announces Homes for Ukraine scheme: what landlords need to know

The UK Government has today announced its Homes for Ukraine scheme, calling for sponsors to register their interest in providing accommodation to those fleeing the conflict. 

Sponsors are asked to provide homes or a spare room rent-free, for as long as they are able, with a minimum stay of six months. 

The government is offering a £350 per month ‘optional thank you payment’ to UK households who provide accommodation. 

Further information and guidance will be published in due course. At present, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has released a series of frequently asked questions with more information for sponsors. 

But what more do landlords need to know? 

Can I offer an empty property to the scheme? 

You can offer an empty property to the scheme, but you will not be able to charge rent. The £350 thank you payment cannot be used to top up any rent. 

It’s unclear at the moment whether Ukrainians arriving in the UK under the sponsorship scheme would be eligible for the housing element of Universal Credit, and therefore be able to rent properties in their own right. We are confirming this with the government. 

If you do charge rent, you will be creating a new tenancy and will need to comply with all the legal requirements of this. 

Can my existing tenant offer a spare room to the scheme? 

Tenants can offer spare rooms to the scheme, but they will need the landlord’s consent to take part. When those seeking accommodation are being matched with available properties, there will be checks that the landlord’s permission has been given to the tenant. 

If my tenant wants to take part, will this affect my tenancy agreement with them? 

The scheme expects that sponsors will offer accommodation for at least six months. In these cases, if your tenant moves out and the sponsored person does not, then you may find yourself responsible for providing accommodation afterwards. We are asking for more details on this particular area. 

Who’s responsible for Right to Rent compliance? 

If the tenant has agreed that they will sponsor someone, they will be responsible for ensuring compliance with Right to Rent. 

Will sponsored individuals or families be placed straight away? 

The scheme is open for registrations of interest from UK sponsors from Monday 14 March, and opens to visa applications from Ukrainians from Friday 18 March.  

In the first phase, UK residents can nominate named persons to sponsor. Placements will be arranged once visa applications are processed. 

Sponsors will be contacted with further details after registering their interest. 

When will more information be available? 

We are in active conversations with the government on the detail of the scheme and will provide further information in the coming days. 

Meera Chindooroy

Meera Chindooroy Deputy Director of Campaigns, Public Affairs & Policy

Meera is Deputy Director of Campaigns, Public Affairs & Policy at the NRLA. She joined the National Landlords Association (NLA) in May 2018, having previously worked in both policy development and project management for a range of not-for-profit and public sector organisations. Meera provides political insight both internally and for NRLA members, and lobbies in their best interests. Meera has extensive experience of building partnerships with stakeholders across communities, civil society and government, as well as developing collaborative approaches to policy challenges.

Prior to joining to the NLA, Meera provided policy and engagement support to the chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, the UK’s biggest community funder. She also developed strategic policy at the General Medical Council, the regulator of doctors in the UK.

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