How are Councils assisting Afghan refugees to find properties?

How are Councils assisting Afghan refugees to find properties?

9:36 AM, 13th September 2021, About 2 weeks ago 20

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There are funds available to LA’s to provide accommodation to Afghani refugees, but they have no properties of their own to offer. Many Social Housing providers (that the LA’s have no choice but to use) have said that incoming Afghans will NOT be treated as a priority over and above the already never-ending list of those needing accommodation.

I asked the two LA’s I deal with for more info – one replied with the following:

We are awaiting further information from the Home Office following their statement about supporting a wider number of refugees from Afghanistan, but had previously been in discussions about the possibility of supporting those Afghans and their families who had worked in various roles for the MOD whilst the military were in situ. These families have been arriving in the UK since July and are the ones in most urgent need of accommodation. Depending on updates from the Home Office, resettlement of a wider number of refugees is likely to take place over an extended period.

Currently, the Home Office is looking for 2+ bed accommodation as they mainly have families to accommodate. This may change going forward.

Once a property has been identified as being suitable by a local authority, it will be offered to the Home Office who will allocate a family. Once the family arrives in the local authority area, they will enter into a standard assured shorthold tenancy with a landlord as you would with any other tenant.

The families will be entitled to claim housing benefit and other benefits. It is likely that they will be subject to the benefit cap, so rents will need to be affordable for the family in line with local housing allowance rates. It is intended that a home will be occupied by a single-family, but there are large families needing accommodation. They will be made aware of their responsibilities under a tenancy agreement. It is hoped that the families will settle in their accommodation and will want to stay longer than the initial period, however, they will be entitled to move if they wish.

Each local authority area will support the family for 12 months to ensure that they are receiving the correct benefits, that they are registered with GPs and schools, that they are linked with the Job Centre to help look for employment and – if necessary – that adults can access English lessons.
Kind Regards
XXXX

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Given that the LA’s will be effectively giving NO financial assistance to a PRS Landlord or providing guarantees, are any landlords going to take on additional risk in the current legislative environment?

What responses have others had from their LA? Are there some LA’s offering incentives and if so are you considering them?

Many thanks

DSR



Comments

by DSR

14:33 PM, 15th September 2021, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Bray at 14/09/2021 - 22:11
no not unless they fulfilled the Tier 1 or Tier 2 categories that 'suggest' a direct payment could then be made.

It is still discretionary even then if UC pay direct. My last tenant was a young person just out of care, previously homeless, no history of fending for herself and with small deductions being paid out from UC as it was. Despite requesting direct payments before, and twice after the start of the tenancy it EVEN then took me 3 months for them to agree to this.

My advice - direct payments can never be guaranteed even if the tenant meets the requirements to do so for a LL to get paid straight off. UC prefer to give the tenant total control from the start...and that's where it goes so very very wrong....

by Laura Delow

9:45 AM, 18th September 2021, About A week ago

I joined a Webinar hosted by Krish Kandiah of http://www.afghanwelcome.org/housing (copy/paste URL to view Webinar) about the PRS helping Afghan families which was very enlightening. You can register home availability on their above site and at https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=EGg0v32c3kOociSi7zmVqGjsmh9UztxOjB58FZ7z4yhUMlI5NlA3RDE0Rk9DSUw3TVY3VUw1M0IzQi4u
My places are all in London & unfortunately London Boroughs are slower than others in supporting Afghan Refugees but I've registered my available properties but sadly if they take too long to come back to me, I will be forced to let in the normal fashion. I'm all for supporting these families even though risks are attached, but heh, there's risks with every letting.

by Jessie Jones

11:39 AM, 18th September 2021, About A week ago

My mortgages all come with clauses that insist that my tenants are properly referenced, both financially and personally. I suspect that this is very commonplace.
If Local Authorities are prepared to act as Guarantors then this is workable. But the only such guarantees I have had from LA's in the past are of no value as they are bonds that are time limited and have a low ceiling value.
So on the basis that I take the best applicants and not those from a particular ethnicity, it is likely a 'no' from me.

by Old Mrs Landlord

13:16 PM, 18th September 2021, About A week ago

Bristol are offering a package for unfurnshed properties for 6 months to 2 year tenancies. We have no properties in Bristol and no vacant properties but in response to this post I looked up their terms. Their scheme is modelled on the one through which they previously resettled a number of Syrian refugees. It offers:
Furnishing properties to a high standard;
Guaranteed rent paid direct to LL;
Any initial maintenance/repairs "undertaken";
Electrical cert "organized";
Inventory if required;
References from LL already in the scheme;
Weekly visits from support workers;
Advice to tenants on maintenance of property, garden and appliances;
End of tenancy inspection.
It is not clear who pays for some of these items but I suspect it is the landlord. The rental rates they quote I think are the LHA rates for Bristol but I haven't checked. (They are quite a bit higher than the town 23 miles away where we have properties).

by Beaver

18:43 PM, 19th September 2021, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 18/09/2021 - 13:16
Do your landlords' insurance and any other relevant insurances cover you to take these tenants on?

by Old Mrs Landlord

8:32 AM, 20th September 2021, About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 19/09/2021 - 18:43
Sorry Beaver, I have no idea. My husband spent a lifetime in the insurance business so he always deals with cover and I haven't looked into it as there is no prospect of our being in a position to take refugees. Our handful of rented properties all have settled tenants paying rents, with one exception, well above the local LHA rate. I looked up the link to the Bristol information because no-one else had actually answered the question posed by the original poster of this thread regarding terms or incentives being offered. Laura Delow appears to be the only one who has sought out the information relevant to her locality.

by DSR

14:23 PM, 20th September 2021, About 6 days ago

Interesting to note that some of the LA's that first said they would take the Afghan's have now said they wont. At last the penny drops. Even with a magic pot of supposed cash dripping out the the government's endless (taxpayers ) pot, even the LA's know that isn't going to magically turn into houses. The LA's cant offer accommodation and clearly private LL's are not either....
Suggest the HO buy up some hotels themselves and fast...oh and stop committing to ANYTHING you can't deliver.

by Jessie Jones

16:10 PM, 20th September 2021, About 6 days ago

They cannot issue blanket statements saying that they will home certain people. They have to look at each individual on their own merits. There are plenty of homeless families already in the UK, living in temporary B&B type accommodation. To prioritise Afghans over, say Syrians, or UK Nationals would be racially discriminatory.

by Chris @ Possession Friend

17:15 PM, 20th September 2021, About 6 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Jessie Jones at 20/09/2021 - 16:10
That only applies to British people, when the Woke Govt and their local governing arm ( Councils ) decide they want to help people from overseas, - Positive Outright discrimination is actively practiced. !

by Mick Roberts

5:59 AM, 21st September 2021, About 6 days ago

I'd love to take these people.
However I've took many homeless from the Council (mainly Nottingham Council), then few years later, the Council withdraw the support, treat us like crap & then impose conditions that we'd struggle to comply with because it's a condition against the certain type of tenant that the Council gave u in the first place.

I've spent money on the house for the actual tenant who is wrecking the house cause the Council Support worker is there & saying I am here now Mick, I am not leaving your two's side. 2 months later, no more Council Support worker. House gets wrecked again. Council introduce Licensing, say I'm now responsible cause that tenant hasn't cut the grass. The same tenant they gave us 3 years ago WHO THEY KNEW wun't cut the grass.

It's a shame we can't help any more cause the Council have no joined up thinking & too many turnover of staff to another dept. New staff has no passion or morals or understanding of how renting houses works.


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