This page was last updated on 11th January 2023 to take into account updates to the Government’s Homes for Ukraine guidance and the adoption of a new policy by the Methodist Council at their meeting on 18 October 2022.
Section A - Introduction
Managing Trustees are keen to do what they can to help as part of the Government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme (Scheme). Under this Scheme, individuals are asked to provide a spare room in their home, or separate accommodation e.g., an annexe, to Ukrainian people, rent free for a minimum period of six months. Technically Methodist residential properties can be used to host Ukrainian people if the occupant, usually a minister, and the Managing Trustees, usually the Circuit, wish to do so.
As the Scheme has developed Managing Trustees have increasingly been exploring whether they can offer empty Manses at nil rent rather than welcoming guests into shared homes. Such requests have been considered by the Methodist Council on a case-by-case basis. However, a new policy was adopted by the Methodist Council on 18 October 2022 which confirms that sole use of Manses can be offered during the initial period of sponsorship under the Scheme without needing specific Methodist Council approval if the criteria set out in the policy applies. This “initial period” is the period from the outset of sponsorship or rehoming Ukrainian guests whose sponsorship arrangement elsewhere has come to an end prematurely until the end of that sponsorship arrangement. Please refer to the policy on the Methodist Church website (Homes for Ukraine Policy). Any decision to let property to Ukrainian guests at less than market rent at the end of the initial period would require a Model Trust 20 application to be made to the Methodist Council. Details of how to do this and what to include in the application are set out in the Homes for Ukraine Policy.
What is the Homes for Ukraine Checklist (Checklist) for?
This Checklist has been prepared for Managing Trustees by TMCP (Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes) Legal in conjunction with Property Support to set out the legal and property issues to be considered as part of the discussions between the Circuit and - in the case of shared accommodation - the minister who wishes to share their Manse. These questions can also be considered where the tenant of a Manse wishes to host Ukrainian people under the Scheme. Following the October 2022 decision of the Methodist Council, the Checklist has been split into two parts. Part 1 is for use where Managing Trustees are exploring offering shared accommodation e.g. a spare room in a Manse. Part 2 includes additional considerations where sole use of a Manse will be given.
The Checklist should be used to help you work through the logistics of offering accommodation in accordance with the Government’s requirements, to see if you can provide the support required by sponsors and guests and identify any legal or property issues that you may need to address to make sure the Manse can be used to provide a safe and suitable home.
What about use of non-residential accommodation?
It is thought that the Church’s residential accommodation is best suited to the current Scheme and those considering use of their chapels may be able to provide more help by exploring how they can support hosts and guests living in their wider community. Guidance on how to get involved and what you can do to help is constantly being updated on the Methodist Church website. Please refer to the Homes for Ukraine Toolkit and the Methodist Church’s website.
Please keep referring to the Government’s guidance on the Scheme and particularly their FAQs.
What about rent?
Please note that the Scheme relies on no rent being charged to guests. (The policy adopted at the October 2022 Methodist Council meeting provides for nil rent during the initial period of sponsorship.) If any rent is charged, and please remember that this could include payment in kind, this would fundamentally change the basis of occupation and a formal tenancy agreement would be required. Please contact TMCP Legal if there is any question of anything that could be construed as rent being given by guests to their hosts. TMCP will help guide you through the usual charity law and Methodist law and policy requirements that need to be fulfilled before entering into a residential tenancy.
Shared accommodation v exclusive use
Please also note that offering to host guests in shared accommodation is very different in legal terms to offering an empty property/exclusive use of self-contained accommodation. Please refer to the “Legal Considerations” sections of the Checklist in Part C and Part D. If considering the latter, please contact TMCP Legal for guidance.
Managing Trustees are also asked to look at other ways in which they may be able to help. Please refer to the Homes for Ukraine Toolkit on the Methodist Church website with guidance for churches responding to the crisis in Ukraine. Refer to the work being done in conjunction with Citizens UK and contact the Ukraine liaison officer for guidance on what you can do to support the Methodists for Ukraine.
Section B - What is the Checklist for?
The questions in this Checklist seek to highlight some of the key legal and property issues that you may need to address to ensure Methodist residential property can be used to provide a safe and suitable home for people from Ukraine in accordance with the requirements of the Scheme. You can use this Checklist as a reference tool or work through questions with the sponsor/host, Circuit Manse Managing Trustees, and the wider Church family to identify any areas that may need closer consideration.
As charity trustees it is important to ensure that the accommodation itself and circumstances of the proposed sponsor satisfy the requirements of the Scheme which are primarily to provide a safe home and support base for your guests for as long as they need refuge.
Section C – Checklist
Part 1 – welcoming Ukrainian guests to live in shared accommodation
Legal and property considerations:
1. Circuit Approval
|Is the Circuit happy for the Manse to be used to host guests from Ukraine?|| |
The Circuit Managing Trustees are responsible for the Manse and will need to confirm whether they are happy for it to be used to host guests under the Scheme.
|Will there be sufficient practical and moral support for the host and guest(s) to enable the provision of accommodation for at least the initial six months?|| |
The proposed host will no doubt already have considered very carefully how they feel about opening their home to another individual or family group for an extended period of time, the risks of relationships being difficult (at nobody’s fault) and what they can do to meet the additional needs of their guests due to the trauma they have faced. Please refer to the Government’s FAQs for details of the additional practical support you will be expected to provide to guests. See “What can I do to help my guest settle in?”
3A. Time period
|Will the Manse be available for as long as required under the Scheme?|| |
Accommodation must be available for at least six months. However, the right to remain for guests from Ukraine will be up to three years. This means that there would need to be certainty that a minister was remaining in the Manse for at least six months.
|3B. Ending the Arrangement||What happens when the initial sponsorship period comes to an end? Will the Manse be available when needed to house a minister?|| |
Please note the Government guidance for hosts “Four to six months into your sponsorship arrangement” when coming towards the end of a sponsorship arrangement. In terms of ending a sponsorship arrangement, Government guidance suggests that hosts should give at least two months’ notice to give guests sufficient time to be found accommodation elsewhere. The Government has provided limited guidance on the options available at this point.
If the host did not wish to continue after the initial six months, notice should be given two months before the end of the six months. If the relationship broke down the Government guidance advises contacting the local council so that they can help find alternative accommodation. In both situations there are no guarantees alternatives will be available. Managing Trustees will be mindful of the practical difficulties of finding alternative accommodation due to the passage of time since the Scheme’s inception and the economic climate. Does the host have any contingency plans? Are there options for alternative arrangements should the need arise?
The potential issues in ending a sponsorship arrangement means that there would need to be some level of certainty that ministers who offered their homes as accommodation would be in situ for some time.
Setting out basic ground rules in the excluded licence should hopefully help everyone to understand the shared basis of use of the Manse and assist in living together harmoniously. What can you do you try and avoid such a breakdown in relations? Would an effective help and support network assist?
4. Legal basis
On what legal basis will guests share the Manse? What rights will guests have to remain in the Manse and what does this mean in practice?
Further to updated government guidance, it is understood that individuals from Ukraine living in shared accommodation would be treated as “excluded licensees” rather than tenants with legal rights to remain in occupation. It is unclear how this would operate legally if challenged in court e.g. if a guest refused to leave. To protect the charity’s assets it is important to ensure accommodation is shared in practice and there is no intention to create a legal relationship. (If exclusive use will be given of the Manse please refer to Part 2 of this Checklist.)
The Government has drafted an “Excluded Licence” for use where accommodation is shared. As a property contract, the licence would need to be first be approved by TMCP on behalf of the Connexional Team under SO931(3). To help Managing Trustees TMCP has prepared a template “Excluded Licence” adapted for use by Methodist Managing Trustees. Please ask TMCP Legal for a copy of this document and/or provide your own draft for approval.
While it is likely that a tenancy situation (a common law tenancy rather than an assured tenancy due to no rent being payable) would only arise where a guest occupied separate accommodation e.g. an annex or empty property, there is no guidance on what would happen if the host needed their guest to leave the Manse and they refused to do so (Please see Section 3B re giving notice to guests to leave.) Please be aware of the upset, costs and time involved if the Managing Trustees had to go to court and get an order for possession in the same way as they do for tenants?
5. Licensing requirements
|Have any licensing requirements been fulfilled?|| |
On the basis that shared accommodation would not create a tenancy, it is understood that selective licensing and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) rules should not apply.
6. Right to Rent Checks
|Have any right to rent checks been fulfilled?|| |
Landlords have been required to check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent residential property in England for some time now under the Immigration Act 2014.
|Are there any documents relating to use of the Manse by the guest(s) and have these been approved by TMCP Legal?|| |
As discussed in Section 4, an “excluded licence” should be entered into by the Managing Trustees, the host and the guest(s). This document would be a property contract and TMCP would need to approve the same on behalf of the Connexional Team under Standing Order 931(3).
Please ask TMCP Legal for a copy of the template “Excluded Licence” adapted for use by Methodist Managing Trustees, complete this with details of the arrangement and provide this or your own draft for approval.
If you are presented with any other documents relating to use of the property through the Scheme or via agencies assisting you in finding a guest to sponsor, please send these to TMCP Legal for review. If any charity law and Methodist law and policy requirements come into play, we will let you know.
8. Standard of accommodation
|Is the Manse suitable for the needs of the guests and host? Does it comply with the requirements of the Scheme?|| |
The accommodation to be provided must be “safe, heated and free from health hazards”. For details of the minimum requirements expected, please refer to the Government’s FAQ: “What do I need to do to make sure my home is suitable for my guest? ”
|Are there any privacy concerns and can these be addressed?|| |
A Manse is a base for the work of ministry and home (Standing Order 903). Are you happy that the minister would have adequate privacy to continue with the provision of ministry from the Manse or that alternative arrangements can be made for however long the Ukrainian guests live at the Manse?
Please refer to the guidance produced by the Safeguarding Team in terms of safeguarding considerations.
|Are sufficient funds in place to cover the increased costs to run the home?|| |
The “Thank you” payment of £350 per month for up to 12 months would be payable to the host/ the minister to put towards the increased costs of running the Manse. Please also note that the “Thank you” payment is paid in arrears.
Mindful of increasing energy and food costs, and the need to provide a warm home, if this “Thank you” payment does not cover the additional running costs, is additional financial support available from the Circuit and wider Church community? Can anyone help provide any extras that may be needed particularly at the beginning beyond the payments offered to guests by the Government?
Consider what if any works and safety tests e.g. gas safety will need to be carried out to the Manse to comply with the accommodation standards and how these will be paid for.
11. Legal restrictions
|Are there any legal restrictions on the title that would prevent use of the property to host the guests?|| |
Please check the deeds to the Manse to see whether there are any legal restrictions that need to be factored in.
Are there any restrictive covenants registered against the title that could be problematic e.g. restrictions limiting use as a residence for one household or even by a minister. If you are unsure whether the property title is subject to any restrictive covenant or whether a particular covenant is a problem, please contact TMCP Legal and/or one of the Methodist panel solicitors. They would be able to advise whether such restrictions are enforceable and/or if insurance can be obtained to protect the charity against the risk of enforcement action being taken against the Church?
Is the property subject to a legal charge/mortgage? Have the Managing Trustees secured a loan against the property with Methodist Chapel Aid for example? If so, this may include obligations that need to be factored in. Your lender’s consent may be required. TMCP Legal will contact Methodist Chapel Aid to see if there is a general position that will be adopted if Managing Trustees wish for a charged property to be used to host people under the Scheme and will update the guidance accordingly. In the meantime, please remember to speak to your lender.
|Does your insurer have any requirements that need to be factored in?|| |
Insurers have agreed that for homeowners accommodating Ukrainian Nationals in their home there is no need to contact your insurer on the basis that they are accommodated as non-paying guests. Please refer to the Association of British Insurers’ statement for more details.
Although, the position is a little different with Manses, Methodist Insurance have suggested they will treat hosting in Manses occupied by ministers and their families in the same way. We will add a link to their official statement once this is live on their website.
Part 2 – Offering Ukrainian guests an empty Manse or other property with exclusive use
Following adoption of a policy for letting residential property to Ukrainian refugees by the Methodist Council at its meeting on 18 October 2022, Managing Trustees can offer exclusive use of Manses during the initial period of sponsorship under the Scheme (being the period from the outset of sponsorship or rehoming Ukrainian guests whose sponsorship arrangement elsewhere has come to an end prematurely) without needing specific Methodist Council approval if the criteria set out in the policy applies. Please refer to the policy on the Methodist Church website (Council Policy).
In addition to the general considerations set out in Part 1, where Managing Trustees would like to offer exclusive use of Manses during the initial period of sponsorship under the Scheme, the following additional points should be considered. Managing Trustees also need to fulfil the requirements of the Council’s Policy and the charity law and Methodist law and policy requirements associated with the grant of a tenancy:
13. Legal basis
|On what legal basis will guests occupy the Manse? What rights will guests have to remain in the Manse and what does this mean in practice?|| |
Further to updated government guidance, it is understood that individuals from Ukraine living in self-contained accommodation but paying no rent would occupy that accommodation on the basis of an “excluded tenancy”.
The Government has produced a model agreement that can be used (Model Excluded Tenancy). This would need to be adapted to included appropriate charity law and Methodist law and policy template clauses. Please contact TMCP and we will assist you in adapting the model agreement accordingly so that the document can be approved under SO 931(3).
14. Charity law and Methodist law and policy requirements
|What charity law and Methodist law and policy requirements need to be fulfilled before granting an excluded tenancy?|| |
Although the Government Guidance suggests the tenancy would be “excluded” on the basis that no rent is paid, for charity law and Methodist law and policy reasons an excluded tenancy would be treated in the same way as any residential tenancy and Managing Trustees should proceed on the basis that the statutory landlord and tenant requirements that apply to residential tenancies apply here. Please contact TMCP if you intend to grant an excluded tenancy and we will guide you through the requirements that need to be met. The summary in the Non-Residential Tenancy (Landlord) Checklist is a good place to start. The only requirements that would not need to be met in this case are the confirmation of market rent and best terms, and adequacy of the deposit provisions.
15. Methodist Council Policy requirements
|What requirements need to be fulfilled before an excluded licence is entered into under the Methodist Council policy for letting residential property at less than market rate dated 18 October 2022 (Council Policy)?|| |
Managing Trustees should read the Council Policy on the Methodist Church website (Council Policy) for full details of the requirements to be fulfilled and contact TMCP for guidance. (Please note that some of these requirements cross over with the above charity law and Methodist law and policy requirements.)
16. Ending an excluded tenancy
|How do you end an excluded tenancy?|| |
Please see Section 3B for guidance on ending a sponsorship arrangement.
If your guest refused to leave, an application would need to be made to Court for a possession order. Please refer to the Litigation Flowchart and the Litigation Page of TMCP’s website for guidance on the steps to be followed and contact TMCP so that we can help the Managing Trustees through the process and the request the Connexional Team consent on your behalf.
Please be aware of the upset, costs and time involved if the Managing Trustees had to go to Court and get an order for possession. Before proceeding, please consider how long the property will be available as a home for your guest and what alternatives could be put in place if the Manse was no longer available.
17. Licensing requirements for landlords
|Have any licensing requirements been fulfilled to allow the property to be let out?|| |
On the basis that this would be an “Excluded Tenancy”, it is unclear whether selective licensing and Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) rules will apply. Please check with your local council. If they indicate that a licence is required, then please let TMCP Legal know. Guidance on selective licensing, the process for applying for such licences and HMO requirements is available in the TMCP website.
Section D - Additional considerations
D.1 Change of circumstances
You may find the following Government FAQ (What if my circumstances change and I can’t continue sponsoring?) helpful in terms of what would happen if you were unable to continue sponsoring, however, please bear in mind that it may not necessarily be easy for the local council to find alternative accommodation for your guests. Can you put in place any contingency plans with wider Circuit support?
“What if my circumstances change and I can’t continue sponsoring?
If for any reason you need to end the sponsorship arrangement early, you should inform your local council as soon as possible. Your local council will then step in to help guests to find alternative accommodation.”
D.2 Temporary absence
Questions have been asked about what would happen if the host was temporarily away on holiday, due to family circumstances, illness or on sabbatical etc. You may like to discuss this with the agencies working with you. Do you have any planned periods of absence scheduled? Would others be able to take your place while you are away to keep an eye on the Manse and the well-being of your guests? Legally there is potentially a big difference between third parties having exclusive use of a house as opposed to sharing it with the host even though no rent is charged.
D.3 What happens after the initial sponsorship period?
Any decision to let property to Ukrainian guests at less than market rent at the end of the initial period would require a Model Trust 20 application to be made to the Methodist Council. Details of how to do this and what to include in the application are set out in the Homes for Ukraine Policy. Please contact TMCP so that we can help you with these requirements.
If you have any questions about the points highlighted in the Checklist, if you are considering entering into a tenancy/providing exclusive use of self-contained accommodation or suggestions about additional points to consider or solutions you have found, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any queries in relation to the guidance in this document please contact TMCP Legal for further assistance.