Homes for Ukraine – updated guidance for agents

Propertymark has improved the Homes for Ukraine program FAQs in response to refugee accommodation inquiries to help letting agents advise their landlords and tenants.

March 25, 2022

FAQ: Accommodation for Ukraine

On March 14, 2022, the UK government announced that UK individuals, charities, community groups and businesses could express their interest in supporting Ukrainians fleeing war through the UK government’s new Homes for Ukraine programme.

Provide housing

With over 100,000 people registered with the Homes for Ukraine program and over eight million people homeless in Ukraine, it is important that all parties involved understand how it works, including the impact on mortgage requirements, restrictions on lease in apartments and contents insurance. Under the program, people who sponsor refugees are required to commit to the program for at least six months and provide rooms or an entire property for individuals or families to stay in.

Where a host does not wish to continue the arrangement beyond six months, sufficient notice should be given, ideally two months, so that alternative arrangements can be made.

Right to rent

Until further information is provided by the UK Government, Propertymark says no rent entitlement checks should be carried out as “no rent is charged”. However, this advice has not yet been fully confirmed by the UK Government, as the Home Office would normally expect tenancy entitlement checks to be carried out against any adult person occupying a property in England, regardless of liability for rent.

Owner Consent

People who wish to provide houses or a spare room for free for as long as they can with a minimum stay of six months will receive a payment of £350 per month for up to 12 months, which will be paid in arrears. When tenants want to offer a room, they will need the landlord’s consent and the UK government will check that the landlord’s permission has been given.

When it becomes a rental

If rent is charged, even an additional £350, agents should be aware that this would grant tenancy rights and likely create a tenancy that complies with all associated legal requirements. The legal interpretation means that the rent does not have to be “money” in the accepted sense of the term. It can be a “money value”. In theory, this could include the provision of services by a customer, such as gardening or decorating, which could then be treated as a rental payment.

To support agents Dutton Gregory, who provides Propertymark’s legal hotline, produced a license agreement with Ukrainian and Russian translations.

Adapted housing

The accommodation must be habitable and suitable for the number of people to be accommodated.

The UK government has recently clarified that under licensing schemes where housing is used as accommodation for people covered by the Homes for Ukraine scheme, local authorities are urged to take a pragmatic approach to requiring such properties to be licensed. For Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs), as no rent is payable for accommodation under the scheme, the UK government does not expect councils to require such accommodation to obtain a license HMO.

Communicating propertymark

We continue to monitor developments in Ukraine and are working with the Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to respond to ongoing issues and feedback from Propertymark member agents.

Propertymark hosted a webinar in partnership with Dutton Gregory where senior partner Robert Bolwell answered questions from agents. Register to watch a recording of the webinar.

Donate to the Property United for Ukraine appeal →

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