To date, a total of 833 refugee families from Ukraine have received rental compensation of up to €1,200 to help them get situated in long-term housing in Estonia.
The one-off support measure is being paid out to families or landlords directly by local governments that have concluded administrative contracts with the Social Insurance Board (SKA) and is aimed at covering the initial costs of renting an apartment, which typically include first month's rent, a security deposit as well as a broker's fee. The latter two are often equal in size to the rental home's monthly rent.
"The Estonian state will provide war refugees with short-term housing and help with finding a place to live as needed," SKA crisis specialist Liis Paloots said according to a press release. "This is a major challenge, as rents have skyrocketed and unfortunately we're seeing uncertainty among landlords as well in connection with renting apartments out to war refugees."
Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, and since February 27, Estonia has received 47,734 war refugees from Ukraine, according to the latest weekly figures published by the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) on Monday. This total does not reflect arriving refugees who have been in transit through Estonia.
Volunteers, organizations as well as the state and local governments alike have been working since February to provide housing to arriving refugees, ranging from short-term housing on an emergency basis to offering rooms and homes directly to refugees, many for free or at a token rate.
Recipients of temporary protection are also legally guaranteed the right to short-term housing provided by the state, however they likewise need long-term housing as well.
"The faster people can find themselves a place to call home, the faster they can start adjusting in Estonia and contributing to society here — as well as to rebuilding Ukraine, when the time is right," Paloots said.
Eligible for the one-time rental compensation are rental contracts concluded with war refugees who departed Ukraine after the full-scale invasion began on February 24, have been issued temporary protection and are registered residents of their local government in Estonia.
The local government can deduct up to €50 for administrative expenses from the €1,200 total, which is paid out in accordance with expenses incurred.
To date, 66 local governments across Estonia have concluded administrative contracts with SKA for the reimbursement of rental fees; contracts are in the process of being concluded with another 13.
Refugee, landlord housing guide
Last month, SKA published a housing guide for war refugees as well as landlords on kriis.ee.
Available in Estonian, English, Ukrainian and Russian, the guide includes rental agreement templates in Estonian, Ukrainian and Russian as well as information regarding one-time rental compensation and other measures available in Estonia.
Editor: Aili Vahtla