The crisis in Ukraine has forced millions to flee their homes. After a sluggish and much criticised early reaction, the UK Government launched Homes for Ukraine on 14th March.
This allows individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to house Ukrainians fleeing the country after the Russian invasion.
If you’re able to house a Ukrainian family or individual, here’s what you need to know:
What is the Homes for Ukraine scheme?
The government scheme allows people to offer a home to those fleeing Ukraine by becoming a ‘sponsor’. You can do this as an individual or as an organisation. Anyone in the UK with a spare room or home can join this service, but they must be able to offer accommodation rent free for at least six months.
The Government is paying £350 a month to those who can provide a home.
A total of 200,000 individuals had signed up to Homes for Ukraine as of April 2022 to offer their homes to evacuees. The scheme was launched the month before in March 2022.
As of 7th July 2022, 123,200 visas have been issues under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the Government says.
Can landlords open their houses to evacuees?
Yes, although there are some factors to consider before recording your interest:
Does your mortgage allow it?
Check the terms of your mortgage to ensure you won’t be in breach of your agreement.
Will it cause overcrowding?
By taking in evacuees, will you be in breach of the overcrowding offences in the Housing Act 1985? Overcrowding is a landlords’ responsibility and landlords may face large fines for breaking overcrowding laws.
Check the terms of your landlord insurance
Property insurance should provide suitable cover for a property used as stated by the Homes for Ukraine scheme. If your policy is with us, send an email to email@example.com or call 0808 168 9220.
Will there be any charges in the case of limited companies?
Landlords who own their portfolio through a limited company might be charged under the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings. This is a £3,800 charge for every home worth between £500,000 and £1m that landlords are not receiving rent on. It increases to £7,700 for those worth between £1m and £2m.
What happens at the end of the six-month period?
The scheme requires a commitment of six months, but you may choose to extend the sponsorship if you and guest want to.
Landlords should aim to provide at least two months’ notice to guests if they no longer want to continue to open their home to them.
After the sponsorship period ends, your guests can choose to find a property to rent. They will also be able to apply for the housing part of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit if needed.
What if I need to end the Homes for Ukraine sponsorship early?
Get in touch with your local council as soon as possible if there is a reason why the sponsorship needs to end earlier than the six-month period.
The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited trading as Just Landlords accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.