No Right to Rent checks required for Ukrainian refugees

People who host Ukrainian refugees won’t have to carry out Right to Rent checks according to guidance from estate agency group Propertymark.

Local authorities likely also won’t expect HMOs to be licenced because no rent is paid under the terms of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, said: “Until further information is provided by the UK government, we understand that no Right to Rent checks need to be done as ‘no rent is being charged’.

“This advice has not yet been fully confirmed by the UK hovernment as the Home Office would normally expect Right to Rent checks to be undertaken against any adult individual who was occupying a property in England, irrespective as to their liability for rent.”

He added: “The UK hovernment has recently clarified that under licensing schemes where housing is being used as accommodation for those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, local authorities are being asked to take a pragmatic approach to requiring these properties to be licensed.

“For Houses in Multiple Occupation, because no rent is payable for accommodation under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the UK government does not expect councils to require such accommodation to obtain an HMO licence.”

Hosts are asked to give refugees two months’ notice if they don’t want to continue the arrangement after the six-month point.

So far 100,000 have registered with the Homes for Ukraine scheme, while hosts need to commit to provide rooms or a whole property for a minimum of six months.

If they want to end the arrangement after six months, they have been urged to give the refugees two months’ notice.

Hosts receive an ex-gratia payment of £350 per month for up to 12 months which will be made in arrears. The refugees are expected to cover the cost of food and living expenses.

However Propertymark warned limited company landlords that using the scheme may have risks.

Douglas said: “For those who own properties through a limited company there could be adverse tax implications in offering a home to a refugee under the scheme as currently published. Proper independent advice should be sought before proceeding.

“If rent is charged, even a top up to the £350, agents must be aware that this would grant tenancy rights and likely create a tenancy resulting in compliance with all the associated legal requirements.

“Legal interpretation means that rent does not have to be ‘money’ in the accepted meaning of the term. It can be ‘monies worth’. In theory, this could include the provision of services by a guest such as gardening or decorating which might then be treated as a rental payment.”

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