Sourcing suitable housing for sponsored refugee families.
Outcome 1 – Housing
The sponsored family or individual will need a home in Aotearoa New Zealand. The property must be of an adequate standard and meet all requirements under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, including building, health, and safety requirements.
One of the primary and more difficult challenges your group may face is finding suitable housing for the refugee family for the two year duration of the sponsorship period. Finding suitable housing can take time, so it is recommended that your search starts as soon as possible, ideally as soon as your application as an Community Organisation has been successful.
Housing support does not mean that the Approved Community Organisation is required to fund the accommodation costs. Rather, it is a commitment to ensure that housing has been identified and is available upon arrival in the destination community.
As permanent residents, sponsored refugees will be eligible to apply for accommodation supplement. In the plan you will be required to show, in detail, that you have addressed this essential criterion.
APPLICATION INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
(from Immigration New Zealand Refugee Sponsorship Guidance for Community Organisations)
Suitable private accommodation is available for use by the refugee family.
You must demonstrate that a property is available to rent to the family.
Describe the property: Is it a flat or a house?
What is the nature of the tenancy – is it a periodic or fixed term tenancy? Is it available for the length of time that will be required?
Is it rented privately? Is it a donated property (eg. church organisation) and if so, what are the terms of the lease or tenancy agreement?
Where is it located?
Is the size of the property suitable for the family? Confirm the number of occupants who are permitted to live at the property. Remember that landlords may state a maximum number of occupants in a tenancy agreement.
Is it suitably furnished with all essential appliances?
If a property is confirmed, ensure you complete an initial property inspection with the landlord when taking possession of the property.
Take photos to confirm the condition of the property and any existing damage at the start of the tenancy.
If you do not have a housing solution available at the time of submission of the settlement plan, it is essential that you set out clearly how you intend to secure it.
The housing must be available to the resettled family at a cost that is affordable and sustainable, considering the benefit, including Accommodation Supplement, the family will receive.
State when the property will become available. Consider the timeframe needed for the family to sign the tenancy agreement before they enter into New Zealand.
Does the tenancy require bond money? The landlord can ask for a bond that is up to the equivalent of four weeks’ rent. Any bond paid must be lodged with Tenancy Services – usually the landlord will do this but the tenant will receive the notification from bond services.
The rent must be affordable and sustainable, considering the benefit rate and the accommodation supplement rates in your local area that the refugee family may be entitled to.
The property provides adequate privacy.
The property must be self-contained and not rooms in a house share or boarding house.
Consider compliance with the healthy homes standards.
The healthy homes standards requires all rental properties to meet minimum standards relating to heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture ingress and drainage, and draught stopping.
Healthy homes standards compliance timeframes start from 1 July 2021.
Assistance is provided to register with utility companies and appropriate arrangements are made for payment.
Set out arrangements for registering with utility companies.
What are payments likely to amount to and how will they be made?
Has your group planned to help pay for utilities until receipt of benefits by the family?
Outline how you will communicate how heating systems, laundry facilities and billing works.
Will the family have a contact point if appliances break down? Consider potential language barriers.
Information is provided to the family on the accommodation and health and safety, and who will act as an emergency contact point.
How will the family be informed of contacts in the event of emergencies or problems that may arise in the property?
Who is the accommodation lead person and point of contact for the group?
How will you provide information on all accommodation issues, including health and safety issues?
The property is adequately connected to public services, transport, and the local community.
Families will require access to key regional and community services. This includes doctors, dentists, schools, further education, English language tuition, shops and local amenities.
Community supports such as local groups and sports clubs are essential to support good integration and community connections.
The property should be located within easy reach of the wider community to enable a meaningful community integration process.
What steps have you taken to mitigate for any potential community tensions?
The house has safe electricity and/or gas supplies with adequate ventilation and lighting.
State recent repairs and replacements, e.g. if the boiler etc. has been replaced or serviced.
All questions on accommodation have been answered
House identified meets requirements under Residential Tenancies Act 1986
House identified meets the healthy homes standards
Utilities considered for accommodation:
Local amenities and infrastructure have been considered, including transport, shops, education facilities, community groups etc.
Costs of rent, bond and utilities have been included in budget calculations
ADDITIONAL SETTLEMENT INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
On housing standards:
Healthy homes standards:
Find a house:
Online application for accommodation supplement: