Ukrainians fleeing war struggling to rent in the UK over 'references and guarantors'

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Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion are struggling to find private accommodation in the UK because of trouble sourcing guarantors and references for landlords, according to new data. Following the outbreak of the Ukraine war, the UK Government announced two visa schemes aimed to support those fleeing the invasion.

The Ukraine Family Scheme was designed to allow those leaving Ukraine to join family members already residing in the UK.

Those Ukrainian nationals and their family members with a named sponsor in the UK, who was able to provide accommodation for at least six months, were eligible for the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine).

In a new survey published by the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday, 59 percent of respondents said they now lived with a sponsor.

Of the almost 3,000 Ukrainian nationals surveyed, only 17 percent said they were renting privately.

But, according to the ONS, 45 percent of those asked in the survey said they had experienced obstacles to securing private rental accommodation.

The most common explanation recorded by the ONS was “not having a guarantor or references”.

Other reasons included a poor credit history, difficulties resulting from language barriers, and a lack of suitable properties in the area.

The survey also showed that 57 percent of respondents could speak English to a fair standard or fluently, compared with 44 percent in the summer.

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The ONS’ Tim Gibbs said: “Most Ukrainian arrivals are getting themselves and their families well established in the UK, improving their English language skills and taking available work even where it does not match their previous experience.

“There are still challenges, however, including having their professional qualifications recognised and in securing private rented accommodation when their finances allow.”

Felicity Buchan, the minister for housing and homelessness, said the UK’s “commitment to the Ukrainian people remains steadfast and I am pleased to see so many of those we welcomed to the UK have settled well into their communities”.

She was quoted by The Telegraph as saying: “The fact that 94 percent of Ukrainians are satisfied with their accommodation speaks volumes of the generosity of our sponsors and I want to thank our hosts, community groups and councils across the country who have supported Ukrainians.

“We are engaging with landlord organisations to resolve any issues on renting to Ukrainians and have provided guidance and local authority funding that can be used for this. Where this is not possible councils have a duty to ensure no Ukrainian family is left without a roof over their head.”



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