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Over 40 per cent of landlords are less likely to consider renting to someone without a British passport as a result of the Government’s Right to Rent scheme. The country’s main landlord organisation is calling for a halt to the scheme pending a full review of its impact on tenants.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is concerned especially at the impact it is having on the 17 per cent of UK residents who do not have a passport.
The research carried out by the RLA’s Private renting Evidence, Analysis and Research Lab (PEARL), found that 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. With the foreign-born population almost three times as likely to be in the private rental sector compared to UK-born nationals, this is creating difficulties for them in finding accommodation.
Following a recent BBC investigation that found that criminal gangs are helping undocumented immigrants to flout the law by selling them fake identity documents, there is concern that this will make landlords even more reluctant to rent to overseas nationals or UK citizens without a passport because of the criminal sanctions they face for getting things wrong.
Under the Right to Rent scheme landlords 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.
Whilst in October the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced a new review of the Right to Rent, it warned that this “will not examine any unintended consequences of Right to Rent, for example discrimination against would-be tenants, increased homelessness, or displacement.” This is because, it said, it “does not have the capacity to conduct a meaningful examination of the unintended consequences of RtR at this time.”
RLA Policy Director, David Smith, 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.”
Notes for editors:
- The RLA represents over 50,000 private sector residential landlords in England and Wales. The RLA provides support and advice to members, and seek to raise standards in the PRS through our code of conduct, training, accreditation and the provision of guidance and updates on legislation affecting the sector.
- Further information about the RLA can be found at http://www.rla.org.uk/ or by following it on twitter @RLA_News.
- The RLA Private renting Evidence, Analysis and Research Lab (PEARL) is a research-based policy exchange for the private rented sector. It provides analysis and research on the economic, social and political issues facing the sector. PEARL provides high-quality research and through its reports, briefings and events, PEARL provides the opportunity for evidence led policy making in the PRS.
- Further information about RLA PEARL can be found at https://research.rla.org.uk or by following it on twitter @RLA_PEARL.
- The latest research report can be accessed at: https://research.rla.org.uk/report/state-intervention-renting-making-sense-impact-policy-changes.
- The research reports the findings of one of the RLA PEARL’s quarterly surveys where 2,792 landlords responded.
- The 2011 Census reported that: “Of the 56.1 million usually resident population of England and Wales in 2011, 76 per cent (42.5 million) held a UK passport 3,4, 7.4 per cent (4.2 million) held a foreign passport only (of which 372,000 were Irish passports). There were 17 per cent (9.5 million) who stated they did not hold a passport.” This can be accessed at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/articles/detailedcountryofbirthandnationalityanalysisfromthe2011censusofenglandandwales/2013-05-13.
- Details of the BBC’s Inside Out for London investigation can be accessed at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-41593684.
- Earlier this month Oxford University’s Migration Observatory reported that: “The foreign-born population is almost three times as likely to be in the private rental sector (41% were in this sector in the second quarter of 2017), compared to the UK-born (15%).” Further details can be accessed at: http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/migrants-and-housing-in-the-uk-experiences-and-impacts/.