Cllr Liz Jaeger, Vice Chair of the Adult Social Services, Health and Housing Committee, said:
“The disastrous situation in Syria has created a refugee crisis of biblical proportions. Richmond cannot solve that problem, but we can express our open and humanitarian nature by taking families who are in the most need.
“I am proud that we have managed to help six families however, I am hopeful that others will come forward with offers of homes they wish to rent to Richmond Council to take more such families.”
Richmond Council is looking for more residents, businesses or other organisations who could help provide a secure and safe home for Syrian refugees resettling in London.
To date, Richmond upon Thames has successfully welcomed six families under the Government scheme to resettle vulnerable refugees from UN camps. Given the waiting lists for social housing, other families can only be brought to safety if private lets are found.
Under the scheme, homes need to be self- contained, have at least two bedrooms and be available on an assured shorthold tenancy for a minimum of 24 months. Rent levels would need to be set within the limits of the local housing allowance. These requirements are designed to ensure incoming families have the security and space that they need.
Participating landlords can benefit from:
• Payment of rent & council tax from the date a property becomes available
• An upfront incentive of £2500 – £3500 plus 6 weeks rent (size-dependent)
• Rent paid direct to landlord by government, at housing allowance rates
• Long-term tenancies of 2-5 years, using Standard AST Agreements
• No letting fees if dealing direct with the Council
• Council acts as guarantor and provides all necessary support to the family
Richmond Council will provide a range of help and support to refugee families, including a dedicated case worker to help them settle into the local community, access benefits, employment and local services like schools and doctors.
Individuals or organisations providing homes for refugees could be assured of long term, secure and well supported tenants.
The local authority also provides homes for unaccompanied refugee children from Syria and other parts of the world.
For more information, email: landlordlettings@ richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk or
contact: 020 8871 7333.