Super Sponsor Scheme and Homes for Ukraine: guidance for hosts

Guidance for hosts providing accommodation through the Scottish super sponsor and Homes for Ukraine schemes.

Role of hosts

Being a host in your own home can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it can also be challenging and overwhelming. As a result, hosting should only be entered into after proper consideration with everyone in the household.

This section outlines the role and expectations of hosting a guest, to help you understand and prepare for what to expect as a prospective host.

Case Study 1

We decided to host because we believe it was the right thing to do and because we had more accommodation than we needed. It has been the most rewarding thing we have ever done.

We have a house with a one-bedroom barn conversion in Dumfries and Galloway and we welcomed Valeriia and her family. Our community has gathered round to support the family with gifts, donations and visits; and friendships have been formed.

The children have settled at school and attend local arts and crafts and drama groups in the village, and the youngest child is attending preschool.

We all dine together on a Wednesday night along with our friends. We take turns to cook and it’s something everyone looks forward to. We shared Christmas dinner and more recently a Burns Supper. Valeriia and her family are learning about Scottish food and customs, and we are experiencing Ukrainian cooking and learning their history.

We have welcomed a family of strangers to share our home and in return gained some very good friends.

Case Study 2 – case worker from a third sector organisation

The young woman I supported was aged 18. In some respects, it was a very positive experience. She viewed her hosts as being like parents to her, and they provided a huge amount of support above and beyond just offering their home and meals.

Whilst this was great for this young woman, I think this is something that most hosts would likely not be able to offer or be emotionally prepared for. Many new arrivals will be in a similar position, of having lost family or being at least separated from partners/parents.

I think hosts would need to be prepared for how being in a family environment may cause distress. In my clients’ case it was the opposite, she became very attached in part due to the loss she'd experienced.

Case Study 3

After my 88-year old mother had a fall, I found that I was spending my time at her house. So I decided to rent out my own flat in Broughty Ferry. Then the war broke out and instead of renting, I applied to take in a Ukrainian refugee.

It wasn’t until July 2022 that someone was matched with me. I was expecting perhaps someone older- my flat is quite small and not suitable for a family but would be ideal for an older person or couple. In fact, my guest is a young man which was a bit of a surprise.

I did of course have worries whether there would be problems with the arrangement. Would I face huge utility bills for example? However, Ivan has been extremely respectful of the property and its contents and the only problem I encountered was with my insurers who refused to renew the contents insurance.

Ivan is a very friendly and good-natured man and is always extremely kind to my mother - sometimes even baking cakes! As he is working and as he lives in a separate flat, we don’t see him very often but try to catch up every couple of weeks to ensure all is well. I have tried to help him with medical and work related issues, and to make contacts and friends here. I have also tried to help him with English lessons. His poor English remains the chief problem I think. I know that he also worries constantly about his family in Ukraine.

Overall, it had been a very positive experience for me and I hope has given Ivan some sense of security and peace.

Requirements and expectations – before arrival

In addition to disclosure checks, local authority system checks, and property visits, we ask all hosts to consider the below points:

  • you are required to provide suitable accommodation to a displaced household for a minimum of 6 months
  • it is asked that you give two months’ notice when wanting to end the agreement after the six month mark, to allow time for alternative measures to be put into place
  • guests may look to apply for an extension to their visa for a further 18 months from the initial date of expiry of their visa under the Ukraine Permission Extension Scheme

Further information on options to extend Ukraine visas, including under the Ukraine Permission Scheme, can be found here: Apply to stay in the UK under the Ukraine Extension Scheme.

Homeowners with a mortgage

Homeowners with a mortgage who wish to offer accommodation to people displaced from Ukraine should contact their mortgage lender for further information. Some lenders have made guidance available on their websites.

Some mortgage lenders may ask for an agreement between the guest and host to be signed. This is not mandatory as part of the sponsorship scheme and requirements will vary between mortgage providers. You should be aware, however, that having such an agreement in place ensures that you and your guests are clear on the terms of their stay. 

Shared equity

If you have purchased your property through a Scottish Government shared equity scheme you should check whether your contractual documents allow you to provide accommodation to a third party and follow the terms and conditions of that contract.


If you are a tenant in rented accommodation, you should check your tenancy agreement and get permission from your landlord before agreeing to take part in the scheme.

Council Tax

If accommodating guests in your home, you should continue to pay Council Tax as normal. Hosting guests will have no impact on the level of Council Tax you are liable for or the Council Tax reductions/discounts you are eligible for, including for second homes. Council Tax will not be liable on a hosted property, such as a second home, while guests are the sole occupants because these properties have been given exempt status.

More information can be found in the Council Tax section of the Super Sponsor guidance for local authorities


Insurers have agreed that homeowners offering shared accommodation in their own home to people displaced from Ukraine do not need to contact their home insurance provider as they are considered non-paying guests. This applies for the first 24 months and if, after this period, they continue to live with you, you should contact your insurer to inform them.

You should be aware of any existing terms that might apply to non-paying guests within your insurance policy.  You may wish to contact your insurer to discuss further.

Where homeowners wish to house refugees in their second homes, guest homes or rental properties, they should discuss this with their insurance provider in the first instance. Please see information from the Association of British Insurers at Ukraine Crisis ABI.

Planning and licensing

Where relevant, you should ensure that taking part in the scheme will not put you in breach of any planning restrictions, license conditions, lease or rental agreements or regulatory requirements in respect of the properties or pitches. Where the property is for example on a residential mobile home site or holiday caravan site, this may involve a discussion with the site owner or the local authority.

Since 1 October 2022, local authorities have been required to have licensing schemes open in their areas for all short-term lets in Scotland. Accommodation provided to displaced people from Ukraine is not considered a short-term let, as the accommodation is their only or principal home. This applies to rooms provided in accommodation a host lives in (while they are resident - home sharing or absent – home letting) and offering the use of a second home (secondary letting).

From 1 October 2022, if the accommodation is no longer being used for displaced people from Ukraine, and it is intended to be used as a short-term let, a short-term let licence is required. Further information can be found at the short-term lets page on our website.

Requirements and expectations – following arrival

Language support

The dominant languages in Ukraine are Ukrainian and Russian. You should not expect your guest to be able to speak or read English. Free online translation services may be helpful for communicating in the early phases of a match, however users should note that these are not fully reliable.

Where the guest is accessing public services, licensed interpreters must be providedif requested. People can state their preferred language.

Financial support

If you are housing displaced people from Ukraine in your home you should support guests to adapt to life in Scotland. You should check if they have enough food and supplies such as toiletries and see if they have access to a mobile phone and the internet to stay in touch with family members.

As a host, you are not expected to cover these costs, as guests have access to public funds and can apply for benefits and crisis grants to meet their living costs, including food. The resources section of this guidance has links to organisations and services offering this support.

Rent and guest expectations

Guests must not be charged rent and should not be providing free or underpaid labour, including domestic services and seasonal agricultural work, in exchange for accommodation and/or food. 

Guests are not expected to share household chores as a condition of the hosting arrangement. It is acceptable to discuss whether this may be appropriate, and guests will usually want to get involved.

If you breach this by charging rent this will turn the arrangement with the guest into a lease and the guest will have tenancy rights in respect of your property.

If, following the end of the matched arrangement and having told local authorities of this, you start accepting rent it is for you to make sure you understand the type of lease the individual will have in respect of your property and stick to all legal requirements imposed on you as a landlord. Where this is no longer a matched arrangement, you will not be able to claim the thank you payment.

Landlord registration

Accommodation used under an occupancy arrangement (not a lease) by a person under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and the Scottish super sponsor scheme, does not amount to the use of a property for the purposes of landlord registration.

Occupancy agreement

Having a formal written agreement between the host and guest, which sets out how the relationship is to work in practice, is strongly recommended. As no rent is being paid by the guest, the occupancy arrangement will not amount to a tenancy so the statutory or common law rules on tenancies will not apply. It will be for the host and the guest to decide the terms of the occupancy agreement. It is recommended that any agreement, at minimum, addresses the following issues:

  • where the guest is being accommodated in a self-contained property, the arrangements by which the host can access that property
  • how the guest is to treat the property or the part of the property being occupied by the guest
  • where the guest is being accommodated in a self-contained property, who is to be responsible for paying utility bills
  • how the occupancy arrangement is to be brought to an end by either party

Reasonable contributions towards living costs

You may ask guests to pay a reasonable and proportionate contribution (according to use) for water, gas and electricity used or supplied to the accommodation or to any shared facilities.

It is important that hosts and guests have open and regular conversations about paying towards different living costs including transport and household utility bills. Some hosts may not wish to ask for any contribution depending on their own financial circumstances. 

Whilst hosts are not expected to cover the costs of food some may wish to assist in the early days, especially when their guests first arrive, e.g. some sponsors may wish to offer meals to their guests while they initially settle.

Energy bills

Where the guest is matched to a host in shared accommodation:

  • you (the host) remain responsible for utility bills, unless otherwise agreed with guests
  • there is not an expectation that you will have to provide food or cook for guests beyond the initial needs upon arrival, but you may wish to do so if you like. Guests have access to public funds and can apply for benefits and crisis grants to meet their living costs

Where guests are matched into a property where they are the sole occupants, the following applies:

  • as they are the only person/people living in the property, they would become liable for the property’s bills (excluding mortgage and factors fees) from the date of their entry. The property owner would not be expected to cover utility bills unless they agree to do so voluntarily
  • guests have access to public funds and therefore can apply for benefits and crisis grants to meet their living costs should they need to, and support from local authorities can be provided to progress this
  • Council Tax will not be liable on the property whilst the Ukrainian guests are the sole occupants as these properties have been given exempt status
  • for self-catering holiday accommodation units occupied solely by displaced people under the Scottish super sponsor scheme, non-domestic rates will cease to apply and a Council Tax exemption will be applied on the property/unit

Access to healthcare

Anyone in Scotland, regardless of nationality or residence status, can receive emergency treatment or register with a GP practice to receive general medical services, at no charge. People displaced from Ukraine with a Ukraine Scheme visa can access health care like any other Scottish resident. People can proactively register with a GP and then with a dentist to receive health care.

Health boards will ensure that displaced people have access to primary and secondary health care services designed to ensure that their health needs are identified and addressed appropriately and effectively.

You can find out more about healthcare in Scotland, including guidance on how to register with a GP or dentist, and access mental health support in the New Scots Welcome Pack.

Mental health support and wellbeing packs

Psychological wellbeing pack: guidance for host families provides hosts with advice and resources on supporting the psychological wellbeing of the family/person they are welcoming into their home, as well as guidance on taking care of your own mental health.

Specific information has also been provided for displaced people, as well as the services that support them. Scotland for Ukrainians: a guide for displaced people has been published to help people settle into life in Scotland. It has been translated into Ukrainian and Russian.



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