WHY DO WE NEED PRIVATELY RENTED HOMES FOR SYRIAN REFUGEES?

Britain has committed to taking 20,000 refugees from refugee camps around Syria and Lambeth Council has pledged to take 23 families into the borough. That is a challenge for our borough as there is an acute shortage of housing. We don’t want to make this a choice between giving social housing to local people who need it and giving it to vulnerable refugees – so we’re looking for private landlords who are willing to rent houses or flats to the refugee families.

DO WE HAVE SPACE FOR REFUGEES IN LAMBETH?

We are only talking about very modest numbers of refugee families, just 23 families. This builds on Lambeth’s tradition of being an open, welcoming borough. As the people arriving have refugee status, they will be in a position to work and contribute to our borough.

WHO ARE THE FAMILIES?

The families are vulnerable Syrian refugees currently in refugee camps around Syria. The families are selected and security vetted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and are, often due to medical reasons of one of the members of the family, deemed to be unable to remain in the camps safely. When cases are submitted by the UNHCR to the Home Office for consideration for resettlement in the UK, they are screened for a second time by the Home Office to determine whether they are suitable for entry into the country.

HOW LONG DO I NEED TO BE WILLING TO RENT OUT A HOME FOR?

To offer increased stability for the refugees as they settle into their new community we are asking that wherever possible landlords consider renting their properties to refugees for at least 2 years.

HOW MUCH RENT WILL I BE PAID?

You will be paid at Local Housing Allowance rates which vary depending on location. For most of Lambeth this works out as £204 p/w for a 1 bed property, £265 p/w for a 2 bed property, £330 p/w for a 3 bed property and £414.02 p/w for a 4 bed property. The rent will be paid to landlords directly and will be guaranteed. This is likely to be around 80 – 90% of market rate. In exceptional cases, Lambeth Council may be able to make an ‘incentive’ payment to make it financially viable.

CAN I RENT JUST ONE ROOM?

For resettled Syrian refugees, the Home Office (on UN advice) only allows accommodation that has its own front door. This is important to protect vulnerable people. If you have a spare room and would like to use it to help refugees, you can sign up through charities such as Refugees at Home or NAACOM, who organise spare rooms for asylum seekers and refugees already in the UK

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO ORGANISE FOR A SYRIAN REFUGEE TO BE IN MY HOME, AND WHAT DO I DO IF I CURRENTLY HAVE A TENANT BUT WOULD LIKE TO HELP IN FUTURE?

Each refugee family needs to have a home agreed before they move to the UK – and they will only be resettled once that has been organised. Once we have found a property, Lambeth Council will contact the Home Office who will arrange with the UN for a suitable family to be resettled. This process should take no more than 4-6 weeks.

I’M INTERESTED! WHAT’S NEXT?

Please email the Lambeth Citizens Community Organiser James Asfa at james.asfa@citizensuk.org or text/ring on 07739914225 and he will connect you to the relevant council officers.