Lender drops red tape for landlords helping Ukraine refugees

Landlords who have mortgages from the Yorkshire Building Society have been told that they do not need to inform the lender if they have signed up to the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme helping refugees from the war.The society has advised customers – landlords and owner occupiers – that no changes will be made to their current mortgage product.Ben Merritt, director of mortgages at Yorkshire Building Society, says: “Since the UK government announced the creation of the Homes for Ukraine scheme we’ve been committed to supporting any of our borrowers who wish to open their homes to those fleeing the horrendous conflict in Ukraine.

“We’ve worked on making it as easy and simple as possible for those who want to help to do so, by removing any need for our borrowers to contact us once they’ve been accepted to the Homes for Ukraine scheme. “This takes away any further administration for borrowers that are helping people in unimaginable situations. We’ve been supporting people to have a place to call home for 158 years and we see this as enabling our customers to do the same for Ukrainian refugees.”Last month the society donated £50,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and unrestricted the causes colleagues can support through its paid volunteering scheme, which allocates each employee 31 hours paid leave every year, to give practical help, sorting and packing donations in support of Ukraine.

At the moment it is unclear if Right to Rent checks need to be done as no rent can be charged to refugees under the rules of the scheme, but previously we have been advised that all occupier’s have to be checked, whether paying rent or not.  iHowz have asked for clarification on this.

Individual sponsors who want to provide homes, or a spare room rent free for as long as they are able with a minimum stay of six months in return, will receive an ex-gratia payment of £350 per month for up to 12 months which will be made in arrears.

Where tenants want to offer up a room then they will need the consent of the landlord and the UK government will carry out checks that the landlord’s permission has been given.

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, and the letting agency body Propertymark cautions that independent advice should be sought before proceeding.

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



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