Landlords can step forward and offer their properties to the local authority for the purpose of protecting and sheltering refugees under the Government’s vulnerable persons’ resettlement scheme and also through Schemes for re-settling Afghani families. We also need houses for Ukrainian families as they move on from rooms offered through sponsors. This doesn’t mean giving up the property for free; landlords will be eligible to receive local housing allowance rates. A let would preferably need to be for a minimum of 2 years, but are ideally for longer so resettled refugees have more stability. Under these schemes the property needs a separate entrance, and to be a 3 or 4 bedroom property. (It is rarer, but does happen, that we would be able to use a 2 bedroom property.) The family will receive resettlement support from the Council and from Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign, so a landlord would not have support responsibilities. Fuller details are below under Full List of Requirements.
If you are a landlord and would like to discuss offering your property, email us.
If you have a spare room to offer, please consider signing up to Rooms for Refugees or Refugees at Home. Both these are organisations which match spare rooms and refugees that are in need of them. They also do matching up for Ukrainians coming through the Homes for Ukraine scheme, through which you could sponsor a family or individual for 6 months minimum. These arrangements are a hosting arrangement (but in the case of Ukrainians only, a small token payment is made).
Please note – there is a great need for room offers at the moment. For example, the University of Cambridge has set up the Ukrainian Academic Support Scheme, which aims to bring to the UK up to 20 postgraduate research students and academics from Ukraine to continue their studies and research in Cambridge for a period between 6 to 12 months. Cambridge4Ukraine volunteers are currently working closely with the University of Cambridge to provide accommodation for scholars from Ukraine.
The University in collaboration with Cambridge4Ukraine will help successful candidates to come to the UK using the Homes for Ukraine visa scheme. Cambridge4Ukraine is an organisation that is looking for sponsors to host the academics and, in some cases, close members of their family (spouse or children).
If you think you can help, please email us.
Some organisations or communities might be interested in this scheme, in which a group sponsors a family and commits to providing a property and supporting them. Typically these are faith groups, community groups or refugee-supporting groups. Money is paid directly from the government to the organisation sponsoring. This is a huge commitment but, if you think your community might be interested, the place to start exploring is here. You are also welcome to contact us if you would like to talk this through with someone.
Under the Syrian vulnerable persons relocation scheme, a refugee will be entitled to claim State support on the same basis as would a UK citizen or other eligible person. State support for housing costs is limited to the local housing allowance, which can be seen on the Council website. Anyone wishing to offer accommodation under the scheme will need to be aware that rental income will be significantly below the market level.
The home must be lettable with a date for vacant possession. If the house is currently tenanted, the present agreement would need to be brought to an end lawfully. However, it would not be compatible with the Council’s wider housing duties if an existing tenancy were to be brought to an end solely for the purpose of housing a refugee household.
The accommodation would need to meet all current housing health and safety rating system requirements. It will need to be inspected by a member of the Council’s residential standards team. Any work required will need to be carried out at the owner’s expense. Only when the work is completed and passed can the Council consider re-housing a refugee family, and there may be a delay before the family is ready to move in.
Any tenancy offered should be of a fixed term of at least two years with a preference for three years. In all other respects the tenancy would be a standard assured tenancy and the landlord’s rights would remain what they would be under any other similar arrangement. The tenancy could therefore be brought to an end early in the case of, say, rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
The property should also be in a location that is central to support services, schools and medical centres and with good public transport connections.