Probably the most significant thing we’ll need to do is find a suitable home for the refugee family. This will need to come from a private landlord. Do you have a home to let, or know someone who does? We’d like to talk to you as early as possible!
What we need to do to secure a home for Community Sponsorship
- We must be able find suitable rented accommodation which will be available for at least 2 years. If we can’t have it immediately but know we can secure it, we can apply for ‘approval in principle’.
- The cost of the accommodation must be affordable, taking into account the social welfare income the family will receive. If this isn’t possible, we must show how we’ll meet the additional cost.
- We must liaise with the police to see if they have any objection to the proposed address.
- We need written confirmation that Harrogate Borough Council has inspected the property.
The rental context
There is a standard rent amount set by the government, which caps our budget for a three-bedroom house at £793 per calendar month. This is difficult to find in Ripon, where property prices are high and houses to rent are few and far between!
Houses advertised through estate agents will always require at least one adult in the household to be in employment, and this of course won’t be possible for an Arabic-speaking family arriving from the Middle East or North Africa. In time, when employment becomes possible, this burden will ease.
Therefore, we’ll need to look among our own contacts for landlords who are willing to rent to us without going through an estate agency. There are many benefits for landlords – see below!
Community Sponsorship – benefits for landlords
If you’re a private landlord, the Community Sponsorship scheme offers many benefits:
- The bond + one month’s rent will be paid up-front.
- Monthly rent will be paid direct to you every month via Universal Credit (not by the tenants), which offers certainty – no missed payments, no defaulters!
- This is likely to be a long-term let of several years, with a 2-year minimum. There will be no midnight flits! This again provides certainty, and prevents the disruption and costs involved in changing tenants, and of potentially having the property sitting empty between tenants.
- All of the resettled families known to us in Ripon, Knaresborough and Harrogate (and wider areas) keep a very neat and clean house.
- The families all know they need to be ‘model citizens’. They can’t get into trouble with the law or do anything to jeopardise their right to remain in the UK. So there will be no nasty surprises as to behaviour or what your property is being used for!
- RCoS and the Community Sponsorship steering group are on hand to facilitate communication and to resolve any issues that may arise.