Bristol council has pledged to resettle 15 families each year – around 75 refugees – under the UK Resettlement Scheme. Since the Home Office-funded scheme launched in April the local authority has successfully resettled three families in Bristol, but 12 remain on a waiting list.
The council says that as well as providing much needed homes, the scheme also has a number of benefits for landlords, including:
– a tenancy agreement;
– properties furnished to a high standard;
– tenants visited weekly by support workers in the first six months of the tenancy;
– initial basic maintenance and repairs;
– assistance and advice throughout the tenancy using bilingual workers;
– six monthly inspections.
Paul Waterfall is a Bristol-based landlord who says: “Renting to and working with the Syrian Resettlement Team at Bristol City Council is a dream. We have previously rented houses to families, as an HMO, privately and to a community interest company, and all have had their headaches. With the resettlement team, however, everything has been plain sailing. Rent is paid in full from the first day the property is ready to let, without fail. Most of the property maintenance headaches that are a common experience as a landlord are dealt with by them cheerfully, meaning that I have to spend much less time thinking about the properties than normal. This means that the effort and cost of maintaining the properties is substantially less than I am used to.”
A council spokeswoman adds: “Our call out for landlords to help us welcome and support vulnerable refugees comes at a very poignant time. The annual Refugee Week seeks to celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK and encourage a better understanding between communities. If you own an empty property in Bristol, please do consider signing up to the resettlement scheme and help vulnerable families start a new life in our city.”