Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) Relocation Scheme

Appeal for housing for Afghans who supported the UK Armed Forces

The background

Elmbridge Borough Council has pledged to resettle three households under the government’s Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) Relocation Scheme.

We have previously resettled a number of Syrian refugee families under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme and are now set to support Afghans who have supported the UK military in Afghanistan and who put themselves and their families at considerable risk in doing so.

What we are looking for?

We are now seeking offers of accommodation from private landlords who want to assist and who have properties that are ready to let in Elmbridge within the next month or two.

We are looking for properties which meet the following criteria:

  • Self-contained dwelling with either 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms
  • In a reasonable to good condition
  • All relevant certification in place (gas safety (where relevant), electrical safety and an energy performance rating of “E” or above)
  • Available for letting for at least 12 months
  • Located in Elmbridge
  • Ideally near good public transport links and within walking distance of main services and shops
  • Available for rents at no more or close to Local Housing Allowance levels – i.e. up to around £850 per calendar month (pcm) for 1-bedroom accommodation, £1100 pcm for 2-bedrooms and £1350 pcm for 3-bedroom homes

What can we offer?

We will aim to support both the landlord and the tenants to ensure that the tenancy runs smoothly.  The help that we can provide to landlords may include:

  • A deposit equivalent to one month’s rent
  • A rent guarantee for up to a year
  • Help with tenancy set-up (such as drafting the tenancy agreement and furnishing the property, where appropriate)
  • Help with covering void costs

In addition, the council, working with organisations like Elmbridge CAN, will provide support to the families for up to a year after their arrival to help them build a new life in the UK.  This support will include help with medical needs, arranging English lessons as required, setting up bank accounts, finding jobs and getting children into education.

I think I can help, what do I do?

Given the worsening situation in Afghanistan, we are very keen to have landlords come on board as quickly as possible, so if you are interested or want to find out more please either contact housingpolicy@elmbridge.gov.uk or telephone 01372 474632, providing the following details:

  • the date the property will be available
  • between what dates the property will be available
  • the number of bedrooms
  • the property's location
  • what rent, if any, you would expect  
  • your full contact details, including your name and address, mobile telephone number and email contact.

What happens once I have made an offer?

We will arrange for a member of staff to visit you at the property so that they can assess its suitability, identify any safety concerns and answer any questions that you may have.

What happens after you have visited my property?

If we think your property is suitable for an Afghan family and if you are happy to continue, we will give a few details of your property to our Regional Migration Partner who will quickly get to work finding the most suitable family from their database of families waiting to be resettled.  It could be that a tenancy could be set up and a family housed within a matter of weeks, if the property is ready to let.   

What happens before a family moves into my property?

Before a family moves in, a tenancy agreement will need to be drawn up and the rent level agreed and all relevant certificates will need to be in order.

We will also need to ensure that the property is fully furnished with basic ‘white goods’ (food storage, cooker, washing machine, etc.) and other furnishings such as wardrobes and beds. Any additional help from the landlord in sourcing furnishings and white goods would be appreciated but is not essential. Elmbridge CAN, a local charity, are able to help with providing furniture and other essentials to help families take up home.

Immediately before the family arrives, the gas and electricity need to be uncapped, water ready to use and kitchen appliances checked and working.

How will the family pay for their rent?

We are able to offer a rent guarantee to landlords where if the tenants cannot pay the rent themselves, we will either pay an agreed rent direct to the landlord or make up the shortfall, ensuring that it is paid on time each month, for up to a year.

By four months after their arrival, families should qualify to receive benefits like Universal Credit, which will include help with housing costs, but we expect that the families will be keen to find work and be financially independent as quickly as possible.

How do I find out more?

Please contact housingpolicy@elmbridge.gov.uk or telephone 01372 474631.

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