The Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme makes councils responsible for inspecting potential host properties. In common with other local authorities across the country, Lambeth is doing this in line with the scheme guidance, provided by the government.
A Lambeth Council spokesperson said: “Lambeth has opened its arms to the people fleeing the war in Ukraine and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure our residents can host as many people as possible through the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.
“Scores of residents have already registered their interest in hosting people fleeing the war in Ukraine, and the council is carrying out inspections of properties in line with the guidance the government has provided.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that the homes offered to Ukrainian refugees are as safe and comfortable as possible, and meet the standards we’d expect from accommodation offered to people in our borough.
“The Homes for Ukraine scheme guidance makes councils responsible for property inspections. We have therefore been carrying out inspections on all potential properties, to ensure they meet the standards for sponsors, set out by the government. These include safety guidance such as having a working smoke detector on each floor of the property.
“None of the properties we have assessed so far and have been found to be inadequate under the guidelines. Where alterations are required under the guidance, we have been offering help and advice to residents, to ensure that their homes are ready to welcome refugees from Ukraine as soon as possible.”
The government guidance advises potential sponsors that “accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards. You should make sure your home is safe for your guests and that it is in a suitable condition”.
This lists specific safety requirements including a working smoke detector on each floor of the property, safe gas appliances, and doors and windows at entry level that lock properly.
Lambeth Council has assessed a number of properties so far and none have been found to be inadequate. The government has yet to publish guidance as to the process for properties that are found inadequate.
The Government’s guidance on the Homes for Ukraine scheme includes the following details under its frequently asked questions:
What do I need to do to make sure my home is suitable for my guest?
All accommodation will be different and while there is no set expectation, your accommodation needs to be free from serious health and safety hazards. You should make sure your home is safe for your guests and that it is in a suitable condition.
You should also consider how many people you can accommodate so they have sufficient space. Two people should not be in one room unless they are: adult cohabiting partners; a parent and child; two siblings of the same gender if aged over 10; two siblings regardless of gender if aged under 10. Individuals who didn’t previously know each other should not be given the same room.
Further to this we ask that accommodation:
- be kept clean and in a reasonable state;
- have adequate kitchen and bathroom space;
- have access to drinking water;
- have a working smoke detector on each floor of the property and other fire safety precautions suitable for the building e.g. fire doors or escape routes as appropriate (further information on making a home safe from fire);
- have a working carbon monoxide detector in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove);
- have sufficient heating to keep the property at a comfortable temperature;
- have safe gas appliances, fittings and flues and have undertaken a Gas Safety check within the last year (see more information);
- have safe and working electrics, which a qualified electrician can help with if you are unsure;
- be almost entirely free of damp or mould;
- have doors and windows at entry level that lock properly;
- be easy and safe to move around in, without excessively steep staircases that may cause harm.