Tenants without passports less likely to access homes to rent

Tenants without passports less likely to access homes to rent

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The Right to Rent checks have dramatically changed the role of landlords in society.

The Immigration Act 2014 imposed duties that have made landlords de-facto border security for England, and since the Immigration Act 2016, they face imprisonment for failures under these regulations.

Under the Immigration Act 2014, individuals without a legal right to remain are unable to access a property in the private rented sector, with landlords and agents required to conduct a check on all adults before the signing of the tenancy agreement.

The RLA has been concerned over these regulations since they were announced, with particular concern on the impact on vulnerable individuals without passports, and we have conducted regular surveys of landlords to identify the impact on the wider private rented sector. The latest survey findings are based on a sample of 912 landlords.

The latest findings identify significant issues with the right to rent scheme and that it is disadvantaging vulnerable individuals from accessing the sector.

43% of landlords said they were now less likely to rent to those who do not have a British passport, 58% of landlords were now less likely to rent to those a time limited permission to stay in the UK, and 55% of landlords were now less likely to consider letting to foreign nationals from outside the EU/EEA.

These findings confirm the RLA’s concerns over the checks. Those who cannot easily prove their right to live in the UK, whether they are British or not, are findings it harder to access homes to rent. This is particularly concerning for those UK nationals without a passport, many of them the most vulnerable in society[1].

The touch criminal sanctions, including up to 5 years imprisonment, is making landlords ultra-cautious in their letting activity. This is a dangerous policy and based on the research findings, we are calling on the government to review and stop this policy.

[1] 17% of people in England and Wales do not have a passport (Source: 2011 Census)


Dr Tom Simcock

Until February 2019 Tom was the Senior Researcher for the RLA. His expertise lies in researching change in society, public policy and quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Tom’s research on housing has received national media coverage, featuring on the front page of The Times, has influenced government policy making, and has been cited in debates in the House of Commons, House of Lords and by the London Mayor. Tom now works for Edge Hill University.