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Five questions about becoming a landlord to refugees

posted 25 Feb 2017, 04:27 by Leonie Anna Mueck
1) Why is CRRC looking for landlords for refugees? Can’t refugees just rent houses like anyone else?

CRRC and Cambridge City Council are looking for housing for refugees to be brought to the UK  under the Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Programme. Under this programme, the UK government has committed to resettling 20, 000 Syrians over 5 years. Cambridge City Council has voluntarily agreed to giving a home to 100 of them. These refugees are currently in UNHCR refugee camps in the Middle East and cannot be brought to the UK until suitable housing is secured.

 

2) Where are you looking for houses?

All over the Cambridge City Council area. The city council has also reached an agreement with South Cambridgeshire and East Cambridgeshire councils, whereby if a suitable property is available in these council areas, it could be rented back to Cambridge City Council in order to house refugees. However, all properties should be in reasonably easy reach from Cambridge.

 

3) What is a ‘suitable’ property? Are there special requirements for housing for refugees?

Cambridge City Council has mostly resettled nuclear families, so has been interested in houses with two or three  bedrooms. All housing must be self-contained. That excludes spare rooms but apartments are suitable, as long as they have a separate entrance.

Housing will have to meet certain council codes regarding fire safety and other health and safety concerns. The council and CRRC will be able to assist landlords in getting their properties up to code.

The property should be available for at least 14 months, ideally longer, to give the families stability.

Finally, some properties in rural South or East Cambridgeshire will be unsuitable. Refugees need easy access to infrastructure and amenities such as public transport and language courses, as well as translators and support networks.

 

4) Will I be paid for my property?

Yes, you will be paid rent that is equivalent to the local council Housing Allowance. Rates depend on the size of your house. You can calculate the rates you could expect here: https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/search.aspx

 

5) What are the benefits?

You will have a guaranteed rent from the council for the length of the refugees’ stay. Your rent will be paid by the council, making it a secure income.

You will be supporting a family in desperate need and providing them with a safe haven. Housing is the absolute bottleneck for bringing refugees to Cambridge which means that your kind offer will make the most important difference for giving sanctuary to a Syrian family.

Our landlords say that knowing they are providing this gift to a family is ‘everything’ to them.
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