Rental Rights: Right to Rent scheme

Landlords want Rental Rights suspended

Rental Rights checks should be suspended by the Government, after new figures showed landlords are so afraid of criminal sanctions they are wary of letting to tenants without a British passport.

New research shows more than 40% of landlords are now less likely to consider renting to someone without a British passport due to Rental Rights.

As a result of this, the RLA is asking for the scheme to be put on ice pending a full review of its impact on tenants.

Under Rental Rights landlords in England are responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants, with the prospect of prosecution if they know or have “reasonable cause to believe” that the property they are letting is occupied by someone who does not have the right to rent in the UK.

If they get it wrong they face unlimited fines and up to five years in prison.

The new research, released today, was carried out by the RLA’s Private renting Evidence, Analysis and Research Lab (PEARL), which also found 49 per cent of landlords are now less likely to consider letting to someone who has permission to stay in the UK for a limited time-period.

After recent BBC investigation found that criminal gangs are helping undocumented immigrants to flout the law by selling them fake identity documents, there are now very real concerns landlords will be even more reluctant to rent to overseas nationals.

With the foreign-born population almost three times as likely to be in the private rental sector than UK-born nationals, this reluctance means these tenants are likely to find it increasingly difficult to rent accommodation, even if they have the right to live in the UK.

It will also impact on the 17% of UK residents who do not have a passport and will also find it harder to find a rental home.

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced a new review of the Right to Rent in October, however they warned that it “will not examine any unintended consequences of Right to Rent, for example discrimination against would-be tenants, increased homelessness, or displacement.”

This was blamed on ‘capacity’ issues.

RLA Policy Director, David Smith, said it is vital the scheme is suspended with immediate effect while a full review is carried out.

He said: “This proves what we have long argued, that the Right to Rent scheme would cause difficulties for legitimate tenants who cannot easily prove their identify.

“Faced with the fear of criminal sanctions many landlords are understandably playing it safe.

“Given the scale of the housing crisis, any policy that makes it harder for those legally able to access the homes they need is a travesty.

“It is absurd to conduct a review of the scheme without looking at all the consequences.

“That is why it is vital that the Home Office suspends the scheme pending a full and detailed assessment of its impact on tenants and prospective tenants.”

Written by Sally Walmsley

Blog Post from Residential Landlords Association

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