We are thinking about hosting a refugee from the Ukraine. Since insurers are not renowned for their humanitarian instincts, would premiums increase or would a new policy be required?
The government’s U-turn on refugees was so sudden civil servants and the financial sector seem to have been caught on the hop. Mortgages and lease terms could also potentially be breached by long-term guests, but, at time of writing, the government FAQs are silent. Ordinarily, householders should inform their insurer and lender if a guest stays more than 90 days. However, the Association of British Insurers has announced that hosts need not notify their contents insurer of Ukrainian guests unless they stay longer than 12 months.
The issue is more complicated if the guests are lodged in an annexe or second home, which could constitute a legal tenancy. Policyholders in this situation must, therefore, inform their insurer. UK Finance, which represents lenders, told me it’s still discussing details with the government. Much will depend on the wording of the government guidance, yet to be issued. If there’s a whiff of a legal contract between host and guests, there will be less leeway for flexibility.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) tells me it’s “encouraging” lenders to be accommodating, but borrowers would be wise to inform their lender until the situation is clearer.
JH of Oxford has, meanwhile, been wondering about the effect on single-occupancy council tax discounts. “I live on my own and have signed up to the scheme but I don’t know how many I might be hosting,” she writes. “If my council tax is increased, the £350 a month from the government will not cover it.”
The DLUHC says it “intends” discounts should not be affected. Oxford council did not respond to requests for a comment.
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