An appeal for private landlords to come forward with vacant, or soon-to-be vacant, properties for rent, has been launched.
Generous Somerset sponsors have been hosting refugee families under the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. Accommodation is now needed as part of a planned pathway across all Councils for moving guests out of sponsor accommodation and into private accommodation.
Somerset Councils are offering a one-off cash incentive of £1,000 per bedroom, with up to a maximum of £4,000 for homes with four bedrooms and above. Landlords will be asked to sign up Ukrainian tenants for a minimum 12-month term on a self-contained assured shorthold tenancy basis. They must also agree to a rent that sits within Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates.
This housing initiative is only available to households who arrived in the UK via the Homes 4 Ukraine scheme and supports access to the private rented sector for Ukrainian households who may find it difficult to access accommodation without employment references or a guarantor.
Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity, Cllr Adam Dance, said: “We know that most hosts in Somerset are happy to continue with current arrangements, to support Ukrainians living with them. However a small proportion of these are now coming to an end.
“Given the market conditions for rental costs and the challenging housing supply, options are limited. And yet we know there are privately-owned empty properties that can be utilised to support our Ukrainian friends in Somerset.
“In order for us to house refugees, we need those generous landlords to come forward to offer accommodation. We very much hope they will respond to our appeal.”
Cllr Dance concluded: “We believe everyone deserves a safe and comfortable home. We will continue to seek new and innovative ways to house refugees because Somerset has a proud tradition of offering sanctuary to families fleeing war.”
Housing Teams at the four District Councils (Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, and South Somerset), are working together with colleagues in Public Health to roll-out the county’s pilot initiative.
Government has provided additional money to Local Authorities to invest in homelessness prevention by engaging and incentivising landlords. Funds are limited and will be issued on a first-come-first-served basis.
If you can offer a suitable property in Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton or South Somerset please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For those with accommodation in the Mendip area we would ask you contact email@example.com. Call 0300 303 8588.
You’ll find full details of the incentive scheme, alongside terms and conditions, on our dedicated website pages www.somerset.gov.uk/Ukraine.
You can calculate your LHA rate HERE.