Host Information Centre

Living Costs

Talking about living costs

It is really helpful for sponsors and guests to have open conversations about who will pay towards different living costs such as food, transport and energy bills. It means that everyone knows what their responsibility is and what is expected of them, which will hopefully help avoid any potential problems.

Circumstances will change over time – whether through getting Universal Credit or a job – so regular conversations can be useful.

Who should be paying for living costs such as food, accommodation and energy bills?

UK Government says that sponsors are only responsible for providing accommodation. Sponsors are not expected to cover the costs of food and living expenses, although some may wish to assist in the early days, especially when their guests arrive, e.g. some sponsors offer meals.

Sponsors can ask guests for:

  • A contribution to the cost of food
  • A reasonable and proportionate contribution (according to use) for water, gas and electricity consumed or supplied to the accommodation or to any shared facilities.

Sponsors are not allowed to charge rent to guests arriving under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme

Guests staying in self-contained accommodation are liable for council tax but they can apply for a reduction if they are in receipt of Universal Credit.

On arrival, every Ukrainian guest will be provided with a £200 interim payment to help with subsistence costs. Go to our Interim Payment page for further information.

Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme people also have access to public services, work and benefits. As and when a Ukrainian guest is in receipt of Universal Credit, then this could be used to contribute towards household costs as this benefit is designed to cover living expenses. Likewise, when a Ukrainian guest gets a job and has a regular income, it would be reasonable to ask for a contribution towards living costs.

To find out more about Universal Credit please visit our page on Benefit Information.

Ukrainians must not be required to take up or continue in employment in order to maintain their accommodation. Labour must not be expected for free or be paid under the specified minimum wage, including domestic services and seasonal agricultural work, in exchange for accommodation and/or food.

ID: 9072, revised 26/10/2022