Thinking of becoming a Homes for Ukraine sponsor?
14 April 2022
Last month, the Government launched the Homes for Ukraine Scheme which allows you to become a sponsor and offer a spare room in your home to people fleeing Ukraine. We welcome this scheme and want to support any resident, living in a property we own or manage, considering engaging in this scheme. We want to ensure you have considered all implications and have the relevant information so that you can take forward an application if you believe it is right for you.
If you have a tenancy with Network Homes, you may allow anyone to live with you in your home, including people as part of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, but you must let us know in writing beforehand. This is in keeping with our allowing tenants to have lodgers. If you have a leasehold with Network Homes, you will not need to let us know beforehand but we do need to update your household details and we want you to understand the implications of offering your accommodation to support people arriving from Ukraine.
About the scheme
The Homes for Ukraine Scheme requires you to have at least one spare bedroom to offer a family or individual in need. They will need access to amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom, and the expectation is that you can provide this support for at least six months and give them at last two months’ notice if you want them to leave so that they can find alternative accommodation. Therefore you should consider if you have enough space to provide this level of support and that you do not make your home statutorily overcrowded by entering into the scheme. You will need to check that your home will not be classed as overcrowded by law if you have another person living with you.
What to consider before applying to the scheme
While we fully support residents taking up this scheme, you remain our tenant or leaseholder and therefore wholly responsible and liable for anything and everything that takes place in your property. If you wish to leave the scheme, we will not be able to support you with this or with any bills or costs that may arise from you having a lodger or becoming a sponsor. Similarly, if taking in a lodger changes your circumstances, this is not a matter for Network Homes to take responsibility for; you must remain compliant with your tenancy agreement/lease with us at all times.
If you are a sponsor for the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, your benefits should not be affected, and you will continue receiving your Housing Benefits entitlement as long as you have no other changes to report. However, you should be aware of the impact this may have on your household costs such as your utility bills. You may receive £350 per month from the government as a goodwill payment for entering into this scheme, but you will not be able to charge the person/family rent or for any other household costs. Although this £350 payment should not be treated as income in regards to your benefit entitlements, or affect council tax discounts, you should check if having them in your home will affect any benefits you may receive or arrangements you have in place before applying for the scheme and allowing someone else to live with you.
In addition, you must not sub-let your property or set up any other form of legal relationship with anyone you invite into your home under this arrangement. To do so, may put you at risk of having committed tenancy fraud which could lead to legal action including losing your property.
If you have home contents insurance, please check that the terms of your policy are not affected by entering into the scheme. Your provider should be able to confirm this to you direct.
Finally, please consider the support that those arriving from the Ukraine may need but also what an impact this might have on you and those who may already be living with you. If you or those living with you have any complex needs, please ensure that you have considered what impact becoming a sponsor household may have before you allow anyone to live in your home. We recognise the importance of mental wellbeing and may be able to offer you access support which you can find in the Wellbeing and Mental Health section of our website.
Need more information?
To find out more about the Homes for Ukraine scheme visit the gov.uk website: Homes for Ukraine scheme: frequently asked questions - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
To find out more about Taking in a lodger when you have a tenancy with Network Homes, check out our ‘Taking in a lodger’ page on our website.