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Caroline Knowles-Ley

Associate - Brighton & Hove

14th March 2022

Ukraine refugees: How Homes for Ukraine scheme could work

The Rt Hon. Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced that the government is launching a scheme allowing people in the UK to offer accommodation to people fleeing the invasion of Ukraine.  The key points are currently that you can offer a room in your own house or a separate house, that it must be for a minimum period of 6 months and that it is rent free to the occupiers.  In return for this the government will pay you £350 per calendar month.

 Here are some considerations before offering out your property –

  •  Is the £350 pcm payment to be treated as income for tax purposes and could it result in a loss of benefits/universal credit?  Or is this already dealt with by way of the so called ‘Bedroom Tax’?  One certainly wouldn’t want it to be considered ‘rent’ as this could inadvertently create an AST if the letting is of the whole house (nil rent meaning that there is no security of tenure acquired) which then creates a problem if the refugee does not wish to leave in due course.
  • Implications on Council Tax – a single person would no longer be eligible for an annual 25% discount. If you are thinking about letting your empty property, will your vacant home exemption be affected?
  • Is the consent of the mortgage lender required?  You could find yourself in breach of your mortgage terms so check carefully.
  • Does the leasehold title allow you to part with possession of the whole or part of the property?  Check your lease terms.
  • Do you need to notify your insurer?
  • Check that you won’t be in breach of the overcrowding offences in the Housing Act 1985.

Perhaps when the government has gone into more detail about how the scheme will work, the above will become clear.  After all, the intentions of UK people to help Ukranians are good and should not leave them with problems in the future.

Contact us

Caroline Knowles-Ley is a member of the firm’s dispute resolution team based in Brighton & Hove. Caroline specialises in property litigation covering both residential and commercial landlord & tenant related issues including repossession and forfeiture, neighbour disputes such as boundary, rights of way, rights of light, trees, trespass and nuisance issues arising over a range of property related matters as well as dealing with the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 claims. Tel: 01273 766917 or email: carolineknowlesley@rixandkay.co.uk