Homes for Ukraine: guidance for time limited stays (Airbnb.org)
Guidance for local authorities on how Airbnb.org is providing time limited stays to support Ukrainians.
In this page
The Welsh Government has asked Housing Justice Cymru to partner with Airbnb.org to deliver the scheme in Wales.
What is the Airbnb.org scheme?
Airbnb.org is the humanitarian arm of Airbnb tasked with providing a humanitarian response. They are different to Airbnb.com which is the commercial platform of the organisation.
They have responded to a number of humanitarian incidents around the world, most recent examples including the crises in Ukraine and Afghanistan. In relation to Ukraine, they have put out a call to Airbnb hosts to make their properties available to Ukrainian households. This is a global call with properties having been made available around the world.
Airbnb.org have a stated ambition of supporting 100,000 Ukrainian households via this scheme. As a humanitarian organisation, Airbnb.org partners with third sector organisations or NGOs to deliver the scheme. Welsh Government has asked Housing Justice Cymru to partner with Airbnb to deliver the scheme in Wales.
As it currently stands, the scheme is due to end by 30 June 2023.
Find out more about the scheme through Airbnb.org.
Who can offer a property?
Those owning self-contained and vacant properties (i.e. with no-one currently living in them) in Wales who can offer stays of up to 30 days at a time have been asked to offer a temporary stay for free or at a discount through Airbnb.org. These may or may not be property(ies) offered previously through the commercial website Airbnb.com.
A link to register properties was included in this call on the Welsh Government website.
Airbnb.org have also contacted existing Airbnb hosts to ask them to make their properties available through the scheme. However, in many cases, where no suitable .org properties are available, a booking on the commercial Airbnb.com platform will be made for the guests.
Who is funding this scheme?
Airbnb.org is funding the scheme and providing a budget to Housing Justice Cymru to make bookings on behalf of Ukrainian households. Funding is limited and once used the scheme will come to an end, or by Airbnb’s current scheduled end date of 30 June 2023, whichever comes soonest.
30 June 2023 is the last date for referrals to be received (if the scheme has not ended prior) and so the booking could still take place after this date.
When will this start in Wales?
The scheme has been operational since September 2022. Feedback on the service has been positive from LA’s who have found this has helped allow some needed breathing space to find an appropriate move on plan.
Who runs the scheme in Wales?
The Welsh Government has asked Housing Justice Cymru to partner with Airbnb.org to run this project.
Housing Justice Cymru take referrals from local authorities and make bookings for accommodation for Ukrainian households via the Airbnb platform. They ensure that the booking is appropriate for the needs of the household, taking into account the size and composition of the party, any accessibility or mobility issues and pets.
Airbnb have confirmed the project funding is restricted to Ukrainians but have agreed that so long as there is a concrete move on plan, HJC can accommodate anyone with a Ukrainian passport. This means individuals on all schemes, including those on the Family visa scheme, and other circumstances that fall outside of the visa schemes, are eligible.
Bookings can be made for Ukrainian households consisting of families, couples and individuals. Accommodation will be booked according to the size of the household and individual circumstances.
Bookings will be made under the following circumstances:
- where hosting arrangements have broken down irreparably, and short-term accommodation is required while alternative accommodation is sourced by the local authority
- where hosting arrangements have come to the end of the agreed period and there is a need for temporary accommodation while alternative longer-term accommodation is sourced by the local authority
- emergency accommodation where the guest is at risk/there is a safeguarding need to protect the guest(s)
- where a host has been identified, but they are unable to start hosting immediately
- where a respite placement is identified as appropriate as it will allow a hosting arrangement to continue, such as where a host has a pre-booked holiday, arrangements for family to stay, or experienced a bereavement
Housing Justice Cymru are happy to discuss other scenarios that may not be listed above and will consider referrals on a case-by-case basis. There may be occasions where they need to liaise with Welsh Government to make a decision.
What does the project not cover:
- No bookings will be made if HJC have prior knowledge that a guest has committed a serious crime or has a history of violence.
- Accommodation is available once per individual/family unit and may not be repeated.
How long will stays last for?
Airbnb offers each household/guest a maximum stay of up to 30 days. Ideally this will be in one property for the duration, in some circumstances where no appropriate 30 day bookings are identified, it may be necessary to split this across multiple bookings.
Properties can only be booked if they are available. In some circumstances hotels may need to be booked if accommodation is not available, but these circumstances are expected to be limited.
There must be a clear move on plan in place for after the 30 days, or certainty that one will be in place by the time move out arrives. There is no option to extend the Airbnb stay under any circumstances.
How do I make a referral to the scheme?
Local authorities can make a referral to Housing Justice Cymru who are operating the scheme in Wales in partnership with Airbnb.org.
If you would like to refer a Ukrainian household to the service, please email Ukraine.firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for a referral form. A phone line is also available 01654 550 888.
A member of Housing Justice Cymru will be available to answer any questions and help resolve any issues between 9 am and 6 pm Monday to Friday. Housing Justice will keep these operational hours under review and look to extend them if there is demand. A member of the team will also be on hand out of hours when required for prearranged guest move-in or move-out.
Christmas working hours are as follows:
- December 28th, 29th and 30th: the service will be open for referrals until 12pm. Any referrals received in the morning will be processed. Any referrals after 12pm will be processed the next working day. The phoneline will be open 10am to 12pm on these days.
How quickly can a booking be made?
Once a referral is received, Housing Justice Cymru will try their best to arrange suitable short-term accommodation as soon as possible.
Bookings may take up to 3 working days from the initial referral to completion. HJC have typically accommodated the same day for urgent bookings received before 12pm but booking speed will depend on demand, specifications, and available properties.
It is important that referrals are made as soon as an eligible circumstance is presented so that activity can commence. This will ensure Housing Justice Cymru will have time to identify a suitable property, liaise with the host and guest(s) and then finalise the booking.
Bookings may not always be possible, depending on availability, price point, etc.
If suitable accommodation is identified, an adult from the household will need to sign a Code of Conduct.
Who is responsible for sorting keys and access to properties?
This will be managed with the property host via Housing Justice Cymru as with the process with any standard Airbnb booking.
What support is available to tenants during their stay?
Local authorities will continue to provide support to Ukrainian guests while in the accommodation with regard to access to education, support, childcare, etc. Housing Justice Cymru will work with the local authority on issues relating to the property booking, and move on arrangements at the end of bookings.
Could an Airbnb host overrule a booking?
This is possible, though does not happen often. It is highly unlikely in relation to those properties where hosts have explicitly stated they can be made available to Ukrainian households. In most cases HJC will have explained the scheme to prospective hosts in advance and will only share details of a booking with the Local Authority once it has been confirmed.
Are there any specific inspections of properties made or additional safeguarding checks on Airbnb hosts?
Housing Justice Cymru will not make special inspections of properties as part of this arrangement. Where properties and hosts have met standard Airbnb health and safety requirements that is deemed sufficient.
Housing Justice Cymru will be asking Airbnb hosts to sign an agreement that their property meets the safety standards for the Homes for Ukraine scheme and will be checking that the properties have gas safety certificates, electrical safety certificates, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
What about insurance and wider liabilities?
Properties made available under the scheme are covered via the general Airbnb Air Cover insurance arrangements.
Host liability insurance, a part of AirCover for Hosts, provides Hosts with $1 million in coverage in the rare event a guest gets hurt or their belongings are damaged or stolen while they’re staying at the property. People who help with hosting, such as co-Hosts and cleaners, are also included.
What happens at the end of the stay?
The local authority will be responsible for finding move-on accommodation for households in Airbnb accommodation. The local authority will need to ensure they maintain regular contact with the household, clarifying their needs and any specific accommodation requirements. This will include regular updates about the work to find them longer-term accommodation and notice about where they will be moving to at the end of the Airbnb booking.
Under the terms of the scheme, it is not possible for any booking to be extended beyond the maximum of 30 days, or for a guest /household to move to a different Airbnb property at the end of the 30 days. Therefore, local authorities will need to ensure they have a plan in place for the end of the stay as early as possible, and that this is communicated to the household. It is also important to ensure Housing Justice Cymru are informed of plans and timings so they can manage the overall Airbnb.org booking.
What happens if someone refuses to leave?
This doesn’t happen very often in the experience of Airbnb, but where this does happen the partner organisation (Housing Justice Cymru), working with the local authority, is expected to encourage them to do so.
The local authority will be required to work with the Ukrainian household throughout the stay to ensure a longer-term housing solution in put in place, keeping Housing Justice Cymru informed. They will also support the Ukrainian household to vacate the premises on time, and move to their new accommodation.
What if the guest is placed in an Airbnb out of county and decides they want to stay in that area?
Referrals to Airbnb out of county should only be made as a last resort when all housing options within the referring local authority have been considered and exhausted. Before the referral can be accepted the referring local authority must complete a homelessness assessment and open a housing duty first.
This is to ensure that local authorities offering out of county Airbnb placements can do so without impacting their homelessness presentations or population share. Opening a duty beforehand will enable the referral county to complete a S80 back to the initial referring authority if needs be. If guests, then wish to stay in an area they have been placed in through Airbnb they would have to do so in PRS without assistance.
Data sharing and privacy?
Data sharing agreements will be put in place to enable data sharing between Housing Justice Cymru and local authorities. Housing Justice Cymru is the data controller and will have responsibility for putting this in place.
Housing Justice Cymru will have in place a privacy notice for their interactions with households to clarify how data will be shared and stored.