In the Homes for Ukraine programme hosts commit to offering accommodation to their guests for a minimum of 6 months. While some of the hosts may be happy to continue offering the property for longer, for many, 6 months will be the maximum their property is available for. In this resource we share our tips on how to prepare for the hosting coming to an end and outline the housing options you may have when it does.
We realise that arriving in a new country, especially when you never planned to come here is very difficult. Nevertheless, it is best to start planning for the end of hosting as early on as possible. We know that many hosts are reluctant to talk about the amount of time they can host someone for because they are afraid this may hurt someone’s feelings or unsettle their guests. If your host hasn’t spoken to you about how long you can stay, we encourage you to ask them to clarify this. This way you’ll have as much notice as possible to prepare for the end of your hosting.
The first option you have is renting an accommodation from a private landlord. While it is possible to get some funds from benefits (Universal credit) towards the cost of the rent, most landlords expect their tenants to work and be able to cover the rent out of their own salary. Therefore, it is very unlikely you will be able to find your own private rented accommodation without working.
Many people arriving to the UK are surprised by how expensive it is to rent a property here. It is best to try to understand as early as possible how much rentals are in your area. You can do this by going to websites like Zoopla or Rightmove and looking for properties available for rent in your area.
There are challenges a person who hasn’t been in the UK for a long time will face when looking for a private rented accommodation. Many estate agents will ask people to go through credit checks, which can be difficult to pass if you have only been in the UK for a few months. For those who cannot pass checks the estate agents may ask for 6 months of rent in advance or for a guarantor (some who guarantees that they will pay the rent when you aren’t able to do so). If you are looking for private rented accommodation but don’t have a guarantor or a deposit, then check with your local authority to see whether they are able to offer any help with this.
Some Local Authorities are starting to offer to look for another sponsor in their area for Ukrainian guests who aren’t able to find their own accommodation. This option very much depends on your Local Authority – in some areas there might be more hosts than in others. You could also try looking for another sponsor yourself. This could be approaching people you already know locally or approaching local host groups and networks
We know that some people might have heard about council housing as an option to find affordable long-term accommodation. Unfortunately, in nearly all areas of the UK this will not be possible. Most local authorities across the UK already have waiting lists going into years.
In the worst-case scenario, you can also ask for homelessness-prevention support from your local authority. By law, your local authority will carry out an assessment to check if you are eligible for emergency housing. You can contact your local authority 8 weeks in advance if you know that you might be at risk of homelessness. To find out more, you can read through Shelter UK’s guidance.