A trade body says letting agents are receiving growing numbers of contracts from tenants wanting to take part in the Homes for Ukraine initiative.
The Guild of Property Professionals’ compliance officer, Paul Offley, 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 the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, 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 … 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” 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.
The Homes for Ukraine scheme will allow individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to bring Ukrainians to safety – including those with no family ties to the UK.
Phase One of the scheme will allow sponsors in the UK to nominate a named Ukrainian or a named Ukrainian family to stay with them in their home or in a separate property.
Individual sponsors will be asked to provide homes or a spare room rent-free for as long as they are able, with a minimum stay of six months. In return, they will receive £350 per month.
Those who have a named Ukrainian they wish to sponsor should contact them directly and prepare to fill in a visa application, with the application launching last Friday, March 18.
Charities, faith groups and local community organisations are also helping to facilitate connections between individuals, for potential sponsors who do not have a named contact.
Ukrainians arriving in the UK under this scheme will be granted three years leave to remain, with entitlement to work, and access benefits and public services.
Applicants will be vetted and will undergo security checks.