Frequently asked questions
Please find a list of the most commonly asked questions below, these have been separated into three subjects to make it easier to locate the information required.
Will I have to pay tax on the £350 host payment?
The Government has advised that the £350 ‘thank you’ payments made by councils to hosts under the Homes for Ukraine scheme will be exempt from income tax and corporation tax. While legislation is not yet in place in relation this, HMRC will not collect any tax on these payments. Recipients should also disregard such payments when calculating income for the purposes of tax credits.
Will providing accommodation mean that I am classified as subletting (because of the £350 payment from Government)?
No, you will not be classified as subletting.
Will my Council Tax be affected?
The Government has announced that a Ukrainian joining a sponsor’s home under the Homes for Ukraine scheme will be ‘disregarded’ when Council Tax discounts are calculated to ensure sponsors are not financially worse off as a result of taking part in the scheme. As well as there being no impact on a sponsor’s discount for their main home, there will be a 50% discount for empty or second homes that are used to house Ukrainians on the scheme. Council tax discounts will not be affected if you sponsor and host a Ukrainian household in your home.
If a household currently subject to the spare room subsidy offers their spare room, will they no longer be subject to this?
The DWP has confirmed that if a host’s household is already subject to under-occupancy this will not be altered by the presence of a Ukrainian guest, so the under-occupancy will continue to apply. This is because we have been advised that this will not be treated as their main residence which also avoid the application of non-dependent deductions.
Will providing accommodation affect my entitlement to Benefits, for instance if my guest is able to earn an income?
No, you cannot charge the guest rent, and the £350 is classified as a gift (not taxable income). The Department for Work and Pensions has said it is ensuring that those who have stepped up to sponsor a Ukrainian individual or family do not see their household benefit entitlements affected as a result.
If I receive care and sponsor a refugee through the Homes for Ukraine, will I be affected?
The Department of Health and Social Care has published guidance for councils on charges relating to care recipients who sponsor refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. It outlines that sponsors should be considered to be volunteers engaged in a voluntary activity as a host, when carrying out financial assessments in relation to adult social care.
Do I need to tell my mortgage provider / home insurance provider that I am providing accommodation through these schemes?
You’ll need to check with your mortgage provider, and insurance company, about whether they’ve got any policies which you need to factor in. Insurers have agreed that for homeowners accommodating Ukrainian Nationals in their home there is no need to contact your insurer on the basis that they are accommodated as non-paying guests.
Will social housing tenancies be affected?
Anyone who rents their property – whether through a social or private tenancy – should check with their landlord about having non-family members residing with them to ensure this does not put their tenancy at risk.
Do companies have to pay tax on homes for guests?
The Government has confirmed that companies making homes available to support the Homes for Ukraine scheme will be relieved from the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) and the 15% rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).
Safeguarding and accommodation checks
How and when will DBS checks and accommodation checks on hosts be undertaken?
We are contacting hosts who have been matched with guests within two days of us being provided with their contact details by the Home Office. Our email will contact all of the information hosts need in terms of DBS checks; accommodation checks; £350 host payments; and £350 guest payments. If you are a host who has received this email, please do not forward this onto anyone else. We can only accept responses from hosts and guests once we have received their initial information from the Home Office, so anyone who hasn't yet heard from us is asked to wait to be contacted directly.
Please note that the process to complete a DBS check via the Disclosure and Barring Service can take four to six weeks to complete, although many are coming back within a week. In some instances, guests may arrive prior to the DBS check being completed. Guests may also arrive prior to the accommodation checks being completed (we are aware that some guests may have arrived before we received host data), however we will endeavor to commence both DBS checks and accommodation checks as quickly as possible once hosts and guests are matched. The checks should not be causing a delay to guests arriving, and we are looking at what measures can be put in place to safeguard guests prior to DBS checks being completed. Please also note that hosts are not expected to cover the cost of the DBS checks. Guests are not asked to complete a DBS check.
I don’t know the person I’m sponsoring – we met on Facebook – should I give them my passport details?
Whether to share your personal information is always your decision, but we would urge you to consider this carefully before doing so. If you have concerns about sharing personal details, you may prefer to fill out the visa application form on behalf of the individuals you are sponsoring. To do this, you will need to ask them for their information.
What do I need to do to make sure my home is suitable for my guest?
All accommodation will be different and while there is no set expectation, your accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards. You should make sure your home is safe for your guests and that it is in a suitable condition. You should also consider how many people you can accommodate so they have sufficient space. Two people should not be in one room unless they are: adult cohabiting partners; a parent and child; two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10; two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10. Individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room.
Further to this accommodation should:
- be kept clean and in a reasonable state
- have adequate kitchen and bathroom space
- have access to drinking water
- have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building e.g. fire doors or escape routes as appropriate (further information on making a home safe from fire
- have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove)
- have sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature
- have safe gas appliances, fittings and flues and have undertaken a Gas Safety check within the last year (see more information)
- have safe and working electrics, which a qualified electrician can help with if you are unsure
- be almost entirely free of damp or mould
- have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly
- be easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm.
What do I do if I am worried about an adult?
All adults have the right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. If you are concerned about an adult in a family you are hosting you can contact Cambridgeshire County Council by:
- Completing an online form
- Telephoning 0345 045 5202, 8am to 6pm weekdays, 9am to 1pm Saturday
- Outside office hours, if someone is in danger and unable to protect themselves, or cannot remain in the community without immediate intervention, telephone: 01733 234 724
- If you feel that a person(s) or property is in immediate danger, call 999
What do I do if I am worried about a child?
We all have a responsibility to help keep children safe. If you are concerned about a child in a family you are hosting, you can contact Cambridgeshire County Council by:
- Completing an online form
- Telephoning 0345 045 5203 8am to 6pm weekdays, 9am to 1pm Saturday
- Outside office hours, if you are concerned that a child or family requires emergency safeguarding and/ or support, telephone: 01733 234 724
- If you feel that a person(s) or property is in immediate danger, call 999.
Host-guest matching process
I registered as a host a while ago – what is taking so long for a family to arrive?
The Government runs the Homes for Ukraine registration, visa and matching processes. We understand that you may have been waiting a while, and that the Government is working as fast as they can to reach the many people who have signed up as a sponsor through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. Only once hosts and guests have been ‘matched’ is the District Council provided with the information to contact hosts.
Is there legal support available to Ukrainian nationals?
The Ukraine Advice Project UK was set up by a group of immigration lawyers to provide pro bono advice to Ukraine nationals following the Russian invasion. The project has been inundated with enquiries since it opened, with local firm Stone King’s Immigration Team joining lawyers around the country in offering expert legal advice. To request advice, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with some details of your circumstances and what advice you need.
What process will be put in place in case of a breakdown in relations between a sponsor and a guest/family to ensure housing can be provided?
Guests who do not have accommodation or who are at risk of homelessness should contact our Housing Advice service as early as possible for support.
I have a job and rely on transport to gain access to this. Will this be considered when I am rematched?
Yes, if you make us aware of any employment, or school placements, this will be taken into account when we look for a new host for you. However, we cannot guarantee that we will find you a new host in your current area.
Why are the guests being rematched?
There are a number of reasons as to why rematches take place. These could be down to a relationship breakdown, or because their host has indicated they no longer wish to host their guests.
How long will it take for guests to be rematched?
It is difficult to put a time frame on this process as we need to complete DBS checks and property checks if you have not previously hosted. However, we will update the hosts at every point of the process to keep them in the loop.
Is it true that, as a resident in South Cambridgeshire, Ukrainians can apply for council/housing association housing in either or both of South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City?
Ukrainians who have arrived through the Homes for Ukraine scheme have access to public funds, therefore they are entitled to apply to Homelink for social housing in South Cambridgeshire. If you are employed in Cambridge City, you can apply for a special connection to allow her to bid on Cambridge City properties. For more information and to register with HomeLink, the local social housing register, please visit the home link website.
How can Ukrainians apply for social housing in Cambridge City?
If you do not have a local connection to Cambridge City then you would not be able to apply for social housing in Cambridge City. Please note that every bidding cycle there are a number of ‘cross partner’ properties which allow applicants to bid on properties in other partner areas. You would therefore be able to bid on Cambridge City properties this way.
Is there likely to be any social housing available to Ukrainians now in South Cambridgeshire or Cambridge City, or is this never going to be a realistic option for Ukrainians?
Social Housing is highly oversubscribed in South Cambridgeshire. We would not be able to give a definitive answer as to whether your guest would be successful in securing social housing as each application is banded according to priority.
Can I register with Homelink now or must I wait until I have been here 6 months?
Home-Link is the choice based lettings scheme for all council and housing association homes in Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk, because you have access to public funds you can apply now.
If you are a mother and a child, you will be entitled to the 2 bedroom Local Housing Allowance rate of the housing element on your Universal Credit. If you were to rent a 1 bed or a studio (which will be cheaper than a 2 bed), would you get the 2 bedroom rate?
Yes. If you have a 2 bed need, but chose to rent a 1 bed they would still be entitled to the 2 bed rate. Please visit the Direct Gov website for more information on Local Housing Association rates.
Will South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council be acting as guarantor for private landlords that require this?
No, we are unable to act as a guarantor for private rentals. There are a number of companies who can offer this service. If you find a company you wish to use, we would be able to pay an arrangement fee, but the contract would still be between your guest (the applicant) and the guarantor company.