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Help for sanctuary seekers to understand their rights

Refusing 'Move On' Accommodation: Frequently Asked Questions


This is important information if you are living in Initial Accommodation. 


Initial accommodation through the Welsh Government Super Sponsor route means:

·       welcome centres

·       hotels

·       caravan parks or

·       university accommodation.


We want you to start living more settled lives in longer term accommodation. You can look for your own private rented accommodation. Your local authority will also help you look for accommodation to move to.


This might be:

·       living with a host

·       living in accommodation that you rent

·       other longer-term housing.


They will consider the needs of your family. This will help them make you an offer of accommodation which is appropriate for you.


Many people in Wales are in need of accommodation. This means there is a lot of pressure on the housing market at the moment. It is very important that when you are offered accommodation based on your needs (not preference) to move to, you aim to accept it. If you don’t accept it, if you ‘refuse’ the offer, it does not mean you will be offered a ‘better’ property or property in a different location.


Refusing 2 or more offers – new policy: From 7 August 2023


An offer of accommodation will be made to you in writing in English. If you tell the local authority you need this in Ukrainian or Russian, this will be arranged. You must accept or refuse the offer withing 5 working days from the date that the offer is sent to you. Staff will be able to discuss the offer with you. You can accept or refuse by replying to the email. We encourage you to accept any offer of accommodation that is made to you.


If you refuse the first offer, you will be made another ‘second’ offer, when more accommodation is available.  If you refuse the second offer, you will have to pay a ‘Move On' administration charge.


The ‘charge’ (cost) is because it will take extra time for staff to find you accommodation. This is not considered as rent and is not a charge for your accommodation. It does not establish a ‘tenancy agreement’ in your Initial Accommodation.   You will not be entitled to DWP ‘housing cost assistance’. It does not mean you will have the right to occupy the initial accommodation.


If you do not believe that the accommodation is ‘appropriate’ you can appeal the decision.  Your local authority will have a process to do this.  


'Move On' Administration Charge:


Move On Administration Service Charge After Two Refusals


Individual under 25                                £25 per week

Individual over 25 or couple under 25     £35 per week

Two-person Household                          £45 per week

Three-Person Household                       £55 per week

Household of four or more persons         £65 per week


Move On Administration Service Charge After Three Refusals


Individual under 25                                £45 per week

Individual over 25 or couple under 25     £55 per week

Two-person Household                          £65 per week

Three-Person Household                       £75 per week

Household of four or more persons         £85 per week


Move On Administration Service Charge After Four Refusals


Individual under 25                               £45 per week

Individual over 25 or couple under 25     £55 per week

Two-person Household                          £85 per week

Three-Person Household                      £95 per week

Household of four or more persons         £105 per week


Maximum weekly Move On Administration Charge


Individual under 25                                £45 per week

Individual over 25 or couple under 25     £55 per week

Two-person Household                          £85 per week

Three-Person Household                       £95 per week

Household of four or more persons         £105 per week


Maximum Move On Administration Charge over a four week period


Individual under 25                               £180

Individual over 25 or couple under 25     £220

Two-person Household                          £340

Three-Person Household                       £380

Household of four or more persons         £420


You will receive a letter telling you that in 5 working days you will have to pay this amount above to your Local Authority every week.


Here are some questions that you may have:


How does the local authority decide that an offer is ‘appropriate’ for me?

When they are looking for accommodation for you, they will think about many things:


·       is it safe, in good condition and has furniture?

·       if you have medical needs, does the new accommodation let you continue any care you are receiving. Or can a new medical facility provide your care?

·       does it consider your religious needs and beliefs?

·       does it consider specific educational needs?

·       will adaptations be needed to the property before you move in to ensure that it is accessible for any residents with a known disability?

·       is it available for a minimum of 6 months?

·       is it affordable for your family? They will consider the income available to your family, including any government support they are eligible to receive.

·       is it a suitable size to accommodate all household members?


The accommodation will meet as a minimum the standards outlined in the Welsh housing quality standard.

Any newer accommodation will adopt the Welsh Development Quality Requirements 2021 and Department for Work and Pensions ‘housing benefit rules’.

·       If the accommodation offer is a host offer, then the appropriate DBS and property checks should have been completed.


I have a large family, will we stay together?

Sometimes it is not possible to find affordable accommodation large enough for big families. You may need to be accommodated across 2 separate properties. We will talk to you about this. We will think about the ages of family members, any caring or vulnerability needs and your personal preferences of the family. Properties offered will be close to each other.


I want to accept the offer of accommodation that has been made to me. What do I need to do?

You will receive an offer letter by email, this will tell you about the accommodation and the area where it is. Talk to your support worker about the offer and reply to the email withing 5 working days. If you don’t reply, they will think you are refusing the offer.


How do I refuse the offer of accommodation?

Before declining an offer of accommodation, you should discuss with local authority staff. You will need to reply to the email offer and provide the reasons why you are declining the offer, so that the local authority can consider your reasons.


I think I have a ‘good reason’ for refusing the offer, does this still count towards the ‘2 offers’ that I have?

‘Good reasons’ could include:

·       where the accommodation is later deemed not to be an 'appropriate accommodation offer', as set out above. For example, because of specific needs for education, health, faith, and employment. And also for family links in settled accommodation.

·       where the family / individual has specific needs. For example, they need to be in a different area to access specialist medical or education support. And that this support is not available in, or within, a reasonable travelling distance to the offer area.

·       where a member of the family has care or support needs that are being met by family members accommodated in a different area.

·       where there is a short-term barrier to the family moving. For example, a medical procedure, and the accommodation offer cannot wait for that to be completed.


If you believe you have 'good reason' for refusing an offer of accommodation, speak to support staff from your local authority. They will explain what happens next.


If you don't think the accommodation you are being offered is appropriate for you, you can 'appeal' their decision. You can ask them – in writing – to review their decision.  Tell them your reasons. They have up to 56 days to respond to you.


Can I refuse an offer of accommodation to wait for a different one?

Our main aim is to help you secure suitable move on accommodation. It is not a good idea to say no to properties that you are offered, which are appropriate. If you say no to 2 properties, you will have to pay the weekly charge.


If I privately rent a property from a landlord, can they come to my house at any time and make me leave?

No, you can’t be asked to leave without any warning. There are rules about this.

If they want you to leave they have to tell you in advance


I want to rent privately, will my local authority help me with the costs?


Some local authorities may help with deposits and upfront costs. Talk to your support worker about this.  But remember that you will need to pay for the rent, council tax and cost of electricity, gas or water. You need to pay for these costs using your money or Universal Credit benefits.


Can I still find privately rented accommodation if I don’t have a guarantor?

Many letting agents and landlords ask for a guarantor. But there are still many properties available without needing a guarantor. It is still possible to privately rent in Wales without a guarantor. Some local authorities can help and may be able to act as guarantor on your behalf. You should seek help from your local authority to see if this is available in your area.


Can I stay in Initial Accommodation until I am offered social housing?

Initial accommodation is not a long-term housing solution. Some local authorities may be able to offer you social housing (sometimes referred to as authority housing). This is likely to be only in specific circumstances and most local authorities are likely to offer you a privately rented property. You are unlikely to be matched to social housing because there are many households in Wales already on the waiting list. You may have to wait several years to be allocated to a local authority property. Because of the this, it is not possible to wait in initial accommodation until you are offered social housing. You are likely to be offered other accommodation instead. such as a hosting arrangement or through the Private Rental Sector.


Do rent increases only impact private rented accommodation and not social housing?

Rent can increase for both social housing (sometimes called council housing) and for privately rented properties. However, the landlord must follow the correct legal procedure before putting up your rent. If you are in accommodation and the landlord approaches you with a rent increase, you can seek support from Citizens Advice Bureau.


The rent on a property is set by a local authority and normally increases every year.  Rent increases for a privately rented property will depend on the type of tenancy you have. Your tenancy agreement should contain further information on this.


Can I take a smaller property to save money?

You and your family cannot live in a home which is so small that it’s not safe. When you are matched to a property, a local authority considers what size of property is needed to ensure it is safe.


It is important that your home is safe for you and your family. It must have no serious risks to your health. This includes where there are too many people for the size of the home or for its facilities, like its kitchen or bathroom. If a rented home is so crowded that it is dangerous, then the local authority might say that it is not suitable for a family to live in it.


For example, a house of 3 or more bedrooms might be suitable for a family of 5. This depends on factors such as the age of the children, the layout of the property and bedroom sizes. If the house had fewer than 3 bedrooms, it might not be safe for the family.


As part of the support you receive whilst in initial accommodation, your local authority, or their support provider, should provide you with important information about housing. This includes information about suitable property sizes based on your family size and make-up. 


If I dislike the property I move to, can I return to the initial accommodation or hosting?

No. You will not be allowed to return to initial accommodation once you have left it. But, if after moving into a property, you think that the property is unsuitable for your needs, you should discuss this with the local authority. They can suggest whether they can help, or whether you would need to remedy the issue independently.


Can I present to the local authority for homelessness assistance instead?

If the local authority accepts you are unintentionally homeless (that you didn't make yourself homeless on purpose), and that they have a responsibility to help you, they will look for a suitable property for you. It may not be in the same area you’re currently in.

When the local authority considers if they have a responsibility to assist you through homelessness, they will assess any refusals of accommodation and properties you have had previously when making their decision. If you have refused appropriate offers of accommodation before, the local authority may decide that you are intentionally homeless. You will then not be assessed as eligible for assistance.

Homelessness assistance through the local authority also provides forms of temporary accommodation. These are similar to the initial accommodation that you might have been in. But you will not have a permanent tenancy agreement. And you will not be able to stay in this type of accommodation any longer than you would be able to stay in initial accommodation.

If you are accepted for homelessness assistance, the local authority will still give you offers of accommodation. They will still expect you to move on. The offers of accommodation made this way can be privately rented, social housing, or hosting arrangements. These are the same as the offers made through initial accommodation. Unlike initial accommodation there is a charge for temporary accommodation that you would be liable for.


If I apply as homeless to a local authority where I want to live, will the local authority find me a home in that area?

If you apply as homeless to a local authority, the local authority will consider your application and might try to help you to find somewhere to live. The local authority might find you somewhere to live in the local area or in other areas in Wales. 

As a homeless individual or family, you are likely to have a long wait in temporary accommodation whilst waiting for longer term housing. Especially if you have applied to a local authority which has a lot of people waiting for housing in the area.  Local authorities use various types of property as temporary accommodation. These include rooms or properties rented from private landlords, as well as bed and breakfasts.


If I have employment, will I only be made offers of accommodation locally?

Being in employment isn’t considered a good reason to refuse an offer of accommodation. When deciding if an offer is appropriate for you, the local authority will consider the nature of your employment. For example, whether they think that the travel distance between the accommodation being offered and your employment is reasonable. Or whether you would be able to get a similar job in another area such as hospitality or factory work. It is more likely that a local authority will consider your employment where it is a specialist role or adaptations have been made.


Are offers of accommodation located in the area in which my child/ children are enrolled in school?

If there is no accommodation available in the area that your child or children attend school, they may need to move to another school. There are exceptions for specific circumstances, for example special educational needs. Accommodation will be sought within a reasonable distance of age-appropriate education facilities.


Do offers of accommodation consider my medical needs?

The local authority will take into consideration any known medical treatment requirements. Offers of accommodation will be within a reasonable distance for medical treatment or ongoing care. However, the local authority will try to accommodate your household as close to that provision as possible. For more complex, specialist treatment, this may need significant travel out of the area.


Is the cost of rent the same everywhere?

The average monthly rent of a privately rented accommodation varies across Wales, depending on the location.

When looking to rent it is important to think about how much rent you can afford to pay. 35% of your take-home pay is generally the most that many people can afford. But this depends on what your other outgoings are (for example, whether you have children).

You should also consider if you are entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. If so, you may get help with all or part of your rent. If you are renting from a private landlord, you may receive up to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate for your area to cover or help with the cost of rent.

Check with this online calculator to see if you can afford to live in the area you want. You should also look at this advice about managing rent payments on Universal Credit.

You can find more information and support at the Citizens Advice Bureau.


If I sign up to a tenancy agreement, do I have to stay until the end even if I want to go back to Ukraine?

A tenancy agreement is a legal agreement that sets out how long you have rented accommodation for, the minimum period is usually 6 or 12 months.

You have a right to occupy the accommodation during this time, and you have a legal liability to pay the agreed rent. If you need to leave your tenancy agreement early, you can ask your landlord or letting agent for their permission to break the contract.

They may charge you a fee in order to allow you to leave the contract, and legally they can say no and enforce the full contract length.


Support is available from your local authority. They can help you to make the request and ensure it’s carried out legally.