Tenants without a British Passport Will Struggle under Right to Rent

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has revealed that over 40 per cent of landlords are wary of renting to those without a British passport.

The RLA has called for a review of the UK Government’s Right to Rent scheme asking for a full review of the scheme’s impact on tenants after 42 per cent of landlords across England and Wales said that they are now wary of ending to those without a British passport as a result of the scheme.

17 per cent of UK residents do not have a British passport and the RLA has expressed concern about their welfare in the current buy to let market. The research, carried out by the RLA’s Private renting Evidence, Analysis and Research Lab (PEARL), found that 49 per cent of UK landlords are now less likely to consider letting to a tenant with permission to stay in the UK for a limited time-period.

This is particularly problematic given that foreign-born UK residents are almost three times more likely to be in the private rental sector.

The Right to Rent scheme leaves landlords responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants. They may face prosecution if they know, or have ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that their property is being let to someone without the right to rent in the UK.

In October the chief inspector of Borders and Immigration announced a review of the Right to Rent. However, this ‘will not examine any unintended consequences of Right to Rent, for example discrimination against would-be tenants, increased homelessness, or displacement’. This is due to the fact that it ‘does not have the capacity to conduct a meaningful examination of the unintended consequences of Right to Rent 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 identity. 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.’

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