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Hertfordshire County Council

The first phase of our scheme is aimed at guests who are in employment and can afford monthly rent / living costs, but don't have enough savings to cover a deposit and a month’s rent in advance.

Future phases will consider other groups of Ukrainian guests, including those on Universal Credit.


Finding accommodation to rent in Hertfordshire can be challenging because the county is among the most expensive areas for rental accommodation in England. There is a very limited supply of properties available at any point, so new rental properties coming onto the market are taken very quickly. A renter needs to be well prepared to be successful. 

It is important to start by understanding what a landlord’s priorities are.  Generally, these will be to ensure that the landlord is paid consistently on time, that there are few periods where the property is empty with no rent in coming in (which is why they want to avoid tenants leaving after a short period of time or with little notice) and that their property is not damaged but is well looked after and respected.

In the current situation where there are more potential tenants than available properties it is understandable that landlords will choose tenants that can reassure them that their priorities will be met, particularly given that nowadays many people are struggling with the cost of living and their own mortgages and bills are rising.

This is why landlords undertake a series of checks before they will agree to rent their property to a new tenant. To find out what these are, visit Checks your landlord or letting agent will make.

Some Ukrainians may face more challenges in passing these checks than other Hertfordshire residents because of their circumstances and how they left Ukraine.  You may not be able to act quickly, have deposits and fees ready, supply references, or have a good credit score.  Some landlords might also be worried that you do not intend to stay for a long time, so potentially might prefer a tenant that is committed to the area.

This might lead you to feeling discouraged and like you are being disadvantaged through no fault of your own, but don’t lose heart or take it personally. Lots of Homes for Ukraine guests have already left their hosts and are successfully renting and many landlords are willing to help, so it is possible.  Communication will be important. If you do not have evidence of what the landlord has asked for, think about why they have asked for it, and whether you can provide alternative information that might address those concerns.

Getting yourself ready to be in the best position to answer landlords’ questions and checks is also important.  Government guidance on how to rent is available in Ukrainian and Russian and is a great starting point for you to understand your rights and responsibilities.

Before you apply

Moving on from hosting arrangements

We've commissioned Citizens Advice to provide specific advice about moving on from hosting arrangements. Contact the Citizens Advice Hertfordshire Ukraine Support service as you prepare to move on from your hosting arrangement.

This service is available for all Hertfordshire guests under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and hosts where their own situation may be directly impacted.


Check what you can afford

It is really important that you think ahead to make sure that you will be able to pay your rent and bills not only next month, but every month, especially in times of high inflation when prices are rising rapidly. Renting for yourself means many more bills and costs than rent payments alone, and it is important that you are realistic about what you can afford, not just in the short term.

Use the MoneyHelper website to calculate how much rent you can afford taking into consideration your day-to-day expenses. You need to fill in the form based on what you estimate your expenses will be in private rented accommodation, not what you are paying now. Do not enter an amount for rent onto the MoneyHelper calculator.

Get an idea of costs for utilities and Council Tax:

You will need to download the report and attach it to your application. If you need help with completing the form, email:

We'll need to see proof of your earnings so you'll need to upload copies of your last 2 payslips. If you don't have those, upload a copy of the job offer letter from your employer that shows the salary.


Prove your right to rent in England

In England, it's the landlord’s responsibility to ensure tenants have a right to rent. If you have not done so already, you need to apply for a biometric residence permit within 6 months of your arrival in the UK.

Once you have your biometric residence permit, you can apply for a code to prove your right to rent in England. You will need to enter this code on your application form.


Reference checks

You will be asked to provide references to show you can afford the property and that you will be a good tenant.

References are usually obtained from your current and previous landlords and your employer.  This may be challenging for many Ukrainian residents, so you will need to explain your situation and why the standard forms of reference are not possible.

The landlord may accept an alternative reference from your existing host for example. Or if that is not possible, then an alternative 'character reference', for example from an employer or a prominent member of the local community who has gotten to know you well, to show that you are reliable. 

You might want to think about who the best person to ask would be. Generally, a person of good standing in their community or work in (or be retired from) a recognised trusted profession.  Have a look at the list of people that can countersign a passport application for some ideas – Countersigning passport applications and photos: Accepted occupations for countersignatories (

The longer that you have known the person, and the more able they are to talk about your reliability, your ability to take care of and respect their property, the consistency with which you pay your bills, and your general trustworthiness will be the key things that landlords are interested in.


Credit checks

Letting agents and some landlords will run a credit check to see if you have had problems with paying your bills in the past. They need your permission to do this.

Credit reference agencies are companies which are allowed to collect and keep information about a person’s borrowing and financial behaviour.

Your landlord or letting agent should not force you to pay a fee for a credit check. If they do you can report them to Trading Standards.

A credit score can take time to build up, so you might have a low credit score, despite never having had financial difficulties before, simply because of your situation. It is important that you know your situation before you get too far along in the process with a landlord.  You can check your credit score at one of these 3 credit reference agencies:


If you do not have a good credit score, you should start thinking about how to build it up now, to make yourself more presentable as a more reliable tenant to potential landlords. How to improve your credit score

Be careful applying for credit if you keep getting turned down. Every time a creditor says ‘no’, a record is added to your credit report, and if several unsuccessful applications are made, this will negatively impact your credit report.

How to rent with a poor credit score


Apply for the rent deposit scheme

The scheme will be available for guests who want to move to a different local authority as well as those staying in Hertfordshire.

You can apply to the rent deposit scheme as an individual or with another person who will share the rent of the accommodation with you.

To complete the application each person will need to provide:

  • a copy of your MoneyHelper budget planner
  • your right to rent share code.


What happens next

Your application will be reviewed by one of our team to ensure we have all the information we need.  We will contact you if we need any further information.

The completed applications will be reviewed within 5 working days by a panel who will either approve or deny your application.

If your application is successful, we will provide you with a letter confirming the amount of deposit/rent we will fund.  You can then show this to letting agents.

If your application if not successful, we will give you feedback and advice on how best move forward.


Finding a property

It is your responsibility to find a suitable property.  We strongly recommend that you go through an established letting agency.  There are several national websites that advertise properties to rent which you can register with, including:

You should also register with local letting agencies in the area you are looking to move to.

Letting agents are looking for the most reliable and financially secure tenants for their landlords. To be successful, make sure you've read the above information and have all the documentation and financial information ready before applying for a property.


Questions to ask your landlord or letting agent

  • How much is the rent and how to pay your rent?
  • Does the rent include any other bills such as water, fuel, service charges?
  • Does it cover your local Council Tax? If it isn’t included, you can claim help with it from your local council if you have a low income.
  • How long is the tenancy for? Can you renew your tenancy? Can you end your tenancy early?
  • Are there any other fees to pay before you can move into the property such as a deposit or any fees?
  • Are there any other conditions you need to be aware of, for example are you allowed lodgers or pets?

When you find a property

Your letting agent will require a holding deposit of one week’s rent, which you need to pay yourself.

Moving into your home

Your new flat or house may have some or no furnishings. If your new home is unfurnished, you may want to consider some of the below organisations.

  • The Reuse Shop sell quality household bargains that have been dropped off for reuse at our recycling centres.
  • Freecycle is a website where people can donate and receive free household items.
  • Freegle is also an online community where free household items are on offer.
  • Emmaus has shops across Hertfordshire that sell second-hand furniture.

If you struggle to find what you need from these sources, then ask for advice from your local community group, your local district or borough council, or who all may know about local sources of support. 

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