Couple who fled the war in Ukraine forced to return due to ‘terrible’ UK housing conditions

Couple who fled the war in Ukraine forced to return due to 'terrible' UK housing conditions

Couple who fled the war in Ukraine forced to return due to 'terrible' UK housing conditions. Credit: philip openshaw/

A COUPLE who fled the war in Ukraine have moved back to the country after failing to find acceptable housing in the UK.

Joe Place, a British 29-year-old PhD student from Sheffield, and his wife Iryna, a 34-year-old Ukrainian working as a content manager, left their home in Kyiv in February to escape the conflict after Russia’s invasion.

The couple, who met while they were both teaching English in Ukraine in 2019, could not apply for the Homes for Ukraine scheme because Mrs Place had received a Ukraine Family Scheme visa, and had employment in the UK.

After arriving in the UK they couch-surfed between friends and family, with Mr Place saying they were hoping to find a long-term rental in either Nottingham or Sheffield.

But they say that they were met with “terrible” housing conditions, high costs, and rental requirements they were unable to fulfill, reports Nottinghamshire Live.

This includes up to £1,500 a month in rent, a previous year’s tax statement, or six months of income in a UK bank account.

Seven months later, in September, they returned to Ukraine and are now living in the western city of Uzhhorod, under the threat of being without electricity for the winter due to Russian air strikes.

“This comes to the problem that everyone in the UK seems to be facing with finding (a rental),” Mr Place said.

“We doubled our budget and more. We had a very strict list of requirements and we just kept going ‘OK, well, compromise on this, compromise on this, compromise on this’.

“Anything we got even remotely close to getting was just terrible.”

After visiting family in Western Ukraine, they decided to stay due to the housing issues they faced in the UK.

“We realised we actually quite like it back here, and we’re OK,” Mr Place said, although he added that they will not be returning to Kyiv.

The couple said they will continue to go “back and forth” to the UK to see friends and family and for Mr Place’s PhD and work as a content writer, which he is currently doing remotely from home.

“The west of Ukraine, where it’s safer, the house prices have gone up quite a lot and the rents have gone up – a lot of the locals struggle. But obviously, for us coming from the UK, is still really affordable,” said Mr Place.

“For now we are quite happy being here,” he added.

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Vickie S
Written by

Vickie Scullard

A journalist of more than 12 years from Manchester, UK, Vickie now lives in Madrid and works as a news writer for the Euro Weekly News.


    • Jessica

      11 November 2022 • 17:07

      Are we supposed to feel sorry about this? It´s not easy for anyone. Fed up of hearing Ukranian sob sotries when the whole war is a farce

    • Roger Sandridge

      11 November 2022 • 17:20


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