Calling all Landlords - We need you!
The 100 Syrian refugees that the City Council has committed to resettling in Cambridge are currently in UNHCR refugee camps and can only be brought to the UK once the City Council has secured housing for them. Therefore, we urgently need landlords to step forward and offer their properties to local authorities for the purpose of protecting and sheltering Syrian refugees under the Government’s vulnerable persons’ resettlement scheme. This doesn’t mean giving up the property for free; landlords will be eligible to receive local housing allowance rates. Lets need to be for a minimum of 2 years, but are ideally for longer so resettled refugees have more stability. Under this scheme the property needs a separate entrance, and to be a 3 or 4 bedroom property. It is very unlikely that we will be able to use a 2 bedroom property. The family will receive resettlement support from the Council and from Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign, so a landlord would not have support responsibilities.
If you have a spare room to offer, we only need those rarely. Please consider signing up to Rooms for Refugees which matches spare rooms and refugees that are in need of them
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If you don't have a property but would like to help us find landlords, download this flyer and distribute it in your neighbourhood.
Full List of Requirements for Renting a Property to Refugees:
Under the Syrian vulnerable persons relocation scheme a refugee will be entitled to claim state support on the same basis as would a UK citizen or other eligible person. State support for housing costs is limited to the local housing allowance, which is currently £729.95 a calendar month for a three bedroom house in the Cambridge area. However, eligibility for the full sum will be determined by the size and gender make-up of any household. As an example, a household with two children under 10 or, if the same sex, under 16, will only be entitled to the two-bedroom rate of £609.87. Accordingly, anyone wishing to offer accommodation under the scheme will need to be aware that rental income will be significantly below the market level.
Other conditions are:
1. The home must be lettable with current or imminent vacant possession. If the house is currently tenanted the present agreement would need to be brought to an end lawfully. However, it would not be compatible with the Council’s wider housing duties if an existing tenancy were to be brought to an end solely for the purpose of housing a refugee household.
2. The accommodation would need to meet all current housing health and safety rating system requirements. It will need to be inspected by a member of the Council’s residential standards team. Any work required will need to be carried out at the owner’s expense. Only when the work is completed and passed can the Council approach the Home Office to ask that a suitable household is nominated for the vacancy. There is no guarantee a suitable household will be ready to occupy at the point the accommodation is ready, and there may be a period during which the house is unoccupied and no rent is collected.
3. Any tenancy offered should be of a fixed term of at least two years with a preference for three years. In all other respects the tenancy would be a standard assured tenancy and the landlord’s rights would remain what they would be under any other similar arrangement. The tenancy could therefore be brought to an end early in the case of, say, rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
4. The Home Office will require some kind of local authority oversight of the management of the property and, to this end, the Council’s social lettings agency, Town Hall Lettings (THL), is best placed to manage the tenancy. At a minimum this will involve setting up the tenancy, collecting the rent and dealing directly with the tenants in relations to arrears, repairs and other day-to-day matters. It would also involve acting on the landlord’s behalf regarding the conduct of the tenancy. To cover this, Town Hall Lettings will need to charge a fee for management set at 5 percent of the rent.
5. The property should also be in a location that is central to support services, schools and medical centres and with good public transport connections.