Many landlords across the UK are stepping forward to offer their properties to Ukrainians who have been living with sponsors for the past six months and are now in need of their own private accommodation. In this resource, we offer guidance to landlords who are wondering how they can help, and what it will mean if they rent their property to a Ukrainian refugee.
Many Ukrainians who have been living with hosts across the UK are now searching for alternative options as their sponsorship comes to an end. Ukrainians who have come to the UK through the Homes for Ukraine scheme have three years’ leave to remain, meaning they are able to work, claim benefits and rent property in the UK for that period of time. But is the process any different for renting a property to a Ukrainian?
The short answer is no. Renting a property to a Ukrainian is essentially the same as renting to anybody else. However, there are a few things you will have to take into consideration, which are outlined below.
Ukrainians who have arrived through the Homes for Ukraine scheme have an immigration status called ‘Limited Leave to Remain’. With this status, Ukrainian nationals have a time-limited right to rent, which is valid for three years (36 months). Landlords renting property to anyone with this status will have to carry out document checks. These checks can be done by the landlord or agent.
As a private landlord, you have an obligation to carry out document checks on your tenants to ensure that they have the right to rent. This is applicable by law, and if not carried out could lead to criminal penalties.
To check the documents, the prospective occupier must use the online service Prove your right to rent in England to get a nine-character share code. This code will then be shared with the landlord. The landlord uses the share code and the person’s date of birth to access the right to rent information on the online service View a tenant’s right to rent in England. The share code is valid for 90 days from the issue date. It can be used as many times as needed. Once this has been submitted, the checks will be automatically recorded.
*The checks must be carried out no earlier than 28 days before the start of the tenancy.
You can rent your property to a Ukrainian refugee or family like you would to any other tenants in the UK. If you don’t know any Ukrainians looking for private rentals, you can contact your local authority to make them aware of your property’s availability as they may know of individuals or families in need of accommodation.
Depending on where you are in the UK, your local authority could provide you and your prospective tenants with financial support if they do not have access to a credit check history, deposit, or a guarantor.
We know that as a landlord, having security and financial ease of mind is important. If your local authority cannot provide you with a viable security deposit or insurance of payment, you can talk to your prospective tenants about getting a rental guarantor insurance, which will cover you and your prospective tenants.
As with any other renters, you would provide a tenancy agreement and collect rent from them, not from the local authority.
If you choose to rent privately, your prospective tenants will likely be receiving Universal Credit, and on signing a lease, will be able to receive the housing element of Universal Credit. .
Renting to somebody on benefits may seem daunting, but we assure you that from our experience of helping landlords rent to people with refugee status, it really is very simple (and rewarding!). Jo, who has rented properties for refugees under the Community Sponsorship Scheme speaks about renting to somebody receiving benefits.
“The amount of Universal Credit that a household can receive for housing costs is calculated using the Local Housing Allowance rate. You can check online what the Local Housing Allowance rate will be for your property. This will probably be less than the market rate so you may make less money than you have been, but you’ll also get the privilege of knowing that you’re making a real difference to the lives of people who had lost everything. Plus, you won’t need to go through an agency, so you’ll save the agency fees (often around 10% of monthly rent).”