Over the weekend, the Home Office published additional guidance for people in the UK who may offer accommodation as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
The Government has made it clear that tenants must ask permission from their landlord if they wish to be a sponsor. Additionally, the scheme requires the accommodation to be self-contained or comprise at least a spare room that is unoccupied. It is important that those making accommodation available are confident that it can be provided for a minimum of six months. If the arrangement needs to end early, it will fall to the local authority to find alternative accommodation. The term can be extended if mutually agreed. All applicants meeting the requirements of the scheme will have undergone a visa application process which includes police and antiterrorism security checks. All those offering accommodation as sponsors will also be subject to express, standard security checks and (given the proximity to children and vulnerable adults) a Disclosure and Barring Service check along with a visit from the local authority to check that the accommodation is appropriate.
Neither landlords nor homeowners are permitted to charge rent. The UK Government is offering a ‘thank you’ payment of £350 per month, per residential address and payments are available for up to 12 months. The Association of British Insurers has stipulated that homeowners accommodating applicants to the Homes for Ukraine scheme in their homes will not be required to contact their insurer. However, where the sponsor is a landlord or a tenant, the insurer will need to be notified. Both landlords and homeowners with mortgages on the accommodation should notify their mortgage lender.
Registration is fundamental to the scheme and potentially unlocks additional support from local authorities. Questions around the exact status of occupiers remain, but it is likely that those fulfilling relevant criteria will be subject to a bespoke arrangement of non-paying guests, sitting outside the usual tenancy regimes.