Ukrainian refugees in UK facing homelessness due to renting red tape, charity warns

Checks could be impossible for refugees to pass, organisations say

<p>Hundreds of Ukrainian households have already registered as homeless since arriving in the UK </p>

Hundreds of Ukrainian households have already registered as homeless since arriving in the UK

Ukrainians fleeing war could face homelessness as a result of the administrative checks required to access the private rental market in the UK, charities have warned.

Tens of thousands of refugees have come to live in the country under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which enables Britons with a spare room or house to “match” with families or individuals escaping the Russian invasion.

Those offering to host Ukrainians sign up for a committment of at least six months.

Charities are now warning that refugees may face problems taking the next step of renting their own home, which could require checks that would be impossible for them to pass.

Opora, a charitable organisation that supports Ukrainians who have moved to the UK, is reported to have said it has been contacted by refugees who cannot access private lettings because of failed referencing checks.

A couple from Lviv, Dmytro Chapovski and his wife Polina, told The Guardian they were struggling to find somewhere to rent after moving to the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Their host in Shropshire, Janet Duchesne, told the newspaper that a dozen letting agents had said the Ukrainian couple had “no chance of letting in this country”.

Mr Chapovski told The Guardian he had eventually found an agency willing to rent a property to him, but then needed to show proof of earnings and a tax history in the UK – which, having arrived in April, he does not have – or provide 12 months’ rent upfront.

Stanislav Benes, from the Opora network, is reported as saying that the government needs to support landlords to rent to Ukrainians, and to set up a guarantor scheme for the refugees, who are at risk of homelessness if such action is not taken.

“It will overburden existing resources that are already overstretched, which means more and more people will start falling through the cracks,” he told The Guardian.

Millions have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in late February

Government figures show that hundreds of Ukrainians – more than 660 households – have already been forced to register as homeless in the UK after arriving under the available schemes.

Another charity, Mums4Ukraine, warned that delays in Homes for Ukraine hosts being given a monthly £350 “thank you” payment had meant – in the most serious cases – that refugees were having to leave their accommodation.

Others have raised concerns over what happens when Ukrainians leave their host families.

The war caused millions to be displaced from their homes in Ukraine

Sophie Delamothe, from campaign group Generation Rent, told The Guardian: “There are so many pieces of information that you need to provide, that people who’ve just recently come to this country as refugees just might not have access to.”

A government spokesperson said: “More than 77,200 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK since Putin’s invasion, and the vast majority are staying with sponsors or relatives.

“We are carefully monitoring this situation and will work across government and with landlords to ensure Ukrainians are receiving the help they need.”

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.

To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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