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Homes For Ukraine: Your mortgage checklist

Satnam Sidhu - Mortgage Expert 18th March 2022

Thousands of refugees from around the world are resettled in the UK every year. The war in Ukraine has shone a light on the need for safe spaces within UK homes to house those fleeing warzones and oppressive regimes. 

As of March 2022, tens of thousands of UK residents have signed up to the government’s newly-launched Homes for Ukraine scheme, allowing them to open up their homes and empty properties to Ukrainian refugees. Taking part? Awesome. Here’s our checklist for making sure everything’s peachy with your mortgage

1. Speak to your mortgage lender

As a first port of call, you’ll need to get in touch with your mortgage lender and let them know you plan to share your home with refugees. 

This is new territory for homeowners and lenders alike, so many are still working out the details of how it’s all going to work. But checking before you commit will save you trouble further down the line.

2. Get Consent to Let

Normally, your mortgage lender would need to grant you a Consent to Let if you have a residential mortgage but plan to rent your home for a while. This saves you the headache of changing to a Buy to Let mortgage. Even though you’re not technically ‘letting’ your home in the traditional sense, you’re changing the way your home is used, so you’ll need to talk with your lender.

3. Check your interest rate

When lenders give you Consent to Let, they usually raise your interest rate during this time because it’s an extra risk for them. 

Because of the humanitarian crisis, your lender may agree to keep your interest rate as it is, but it’ll all depend on who you’re with, so it’s best to check before signing up.

4. Check your cover 

A few insurers have stated they wont need you to update your home insurance policy when taking in refugees, but it’s a good idea to find out, just in case.

More about the Homes For Ukraine scheme

The Homes For Ukraine scheme is a government scheme enabling people to open their homes to those fleeing Ukraine. Anyone who signs up for the scheme will need to commit to housing a person for family for a minimum of six months, and will receive £350 a month from the government for taking part. 

How does it work?

Once signed up, you’ll be matched with a person or family after a safety vetting process. Refugees will be allowed to stay in the UK for three years, with access to public services and the right to work.

What am I expected to provide?

Anyone with a spare room or self-contained accommodation is encouraged to apply. You won't be expected to cover the food and living expenses, although you're welcome to offer this.

How do I apply?

The scheme opened on Friday 18 March for visa applications from Ukrainians and immediate family members who already have named people willing to house them.

If you don't have personal links to Ukraine but want to take part, you can register your interest now

Should I take part?

Sharing your home with refugees is an incredible thing to do, but it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Before committing, consider the following:

  • Are you prepared to host a family or individual for at least six months?

  • Do you have adequate space so refugees can live comfortably?

  • Is everyone in your home fully on board?

  • Are you prepared to deal with people recovering from trauma?

  • Do you mind increasing your energy and utility usage? 

Whatever you decide, there’s support available. Find out more about the scheme and sign up on the Homes For Ukraine website.

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