44% of landlords fear Right to Rent

by Property 118

11:37 AM, 18th December 2018
About 4 weeks ago

44% of landlords fear Right to Rent

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44% of landlords fear Right to Rent

44% of private landlords are less likely to rent to those without a British passport according to new research from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

This figure has increased from 42% a year ago and comes as the High Court today begins a Judicial Review of the Government’s flagship Right to Rent scheme.

The scheme began operating nationwide in 2016 as part of the‘hostile environment’ strategy for illegal immigrants introduced by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.

Under it, 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.

The RLA is today intervening in a Judicial Review led by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI). Both organisations argue the policy discriminates against foreign nationals, especially those who cannot easily prove their right to remain in the UK.

The research finds that the fear of getting things wrong also means 53% of landlords are now less likely to rent to those with limited time to remain in the UK, up from 49% in 2017.

In a sign of the uncertainty caused by Brexit, 20 per cent of landlords say that are less likely to consider letting property to EU or EEA nationals, up from 17% in 2017.

In a report earlier this year, David Bolt, Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, concluded that the Right to Rent has “yet to demonstrate its worth as a tool to encourage immigration compliance” and that the Home Office is “failing to coordinate, maximise or even measure effectively its use, while at the same time doing little to address the concerns of stakeholders.”

Academics at Oxford University suggest that the foreign-born population is almost three times as likely to be in the private rental sector compared to the UK-born population.

The RLA is calling for the Right to Rent policy to be scrapped altogether, arguing that it discriminates against those unable to easily prove their identity and foreign-born nationals who have documents unfamiliar to landlords.

It is calling also for urgent guidance to be issued by the Government providing clear information for landlords about the right of EU citizens to rent property, especially in the case of a no deal Brexit.

David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA said: “The Right to Rent is creating a hostile environment for those who are legitimately in the UK but may have documentation that is not easy to understand for landlords.

“It creates needless friction between landlords and tenants. Landlords cannot be blamed for taking a cautious approach as they are not immigration officers.

“It is a policy that clearly leads to discrimination against certain groups and needs to be brought to an end. Despite promises from the Home Office little progress has been made and this is reflected in figures.

“Also the government has so far failed to provide any single document providing clear advice to landlords about the rights of EU nationals to rent property in the event of a no deal Brexit.

“It is leaving many with a sense of frustration as they do not know if they should renew tenancies and create new ones.”

Chai Patel, Legal Policy Director for Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said: “Sajid Javid promised he would learn the lessons of the Windrush scandal, which left many thousands of legal immigrants to the UK destitute, detained, and even deported.

“But he is ignoring the clear evidence, further reinforced by today’s new RLA findings, that requiring landlords to check immigration status does not work and causes exactly the kinds of problems that the Windrush generation faced.

“Not only is he ignoring our evidence, he is fighting us in court to stop the Home Office from being required to do its own evaluation into whether the scheme is harming ethnic minorities and foreign nationals with every right to rent property.

“He is ignoring the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s recommendations to do the same.

“This is extraordinarily intrusive red tape that conscripts landlords as border officials on pain of imprisonment, and Sajid Javid won’t even check that it’s working as planned. He has clearly learnt nothing from Theresa May and Amber Rudd’s mistakes.”



Comments

Mike

19:31 PM, 18th December 2018
About 4 weeks ago

Right to rent policy is discriminatory policy against those who came to Britain millions of years ago, when the failure of our own Governments to control borders properly, allowing millions to enter Britain illegally and not pursuing those who came for a short visit and overstayed, so this so called "worth as a tool" is a load of cobblers and goes against individual's basic human right to a roof over his head, this ruling could be challenged by ECJ. It is down right illegal and the Government should be fined billions of Euros over this unfair and illegal rule that goes against those unfortunates who smuggled themselves in this country to make their lives a little better, but many such people are now homeless sleeping rough, unable to even go back, and roughly two each week are losing their lives, much more than Gas Safe Law that was suppose to stop human deaths. Our Politicians are two faced animals who could not control our borders and immigration and are now asking landlords to do their dirty work for no pay and instead fine us if we don't, what a load of ........

reader

10:45 AM, 19th December 2018
About 4 weeks ago

It is a shame supposedly so many landlords fail to apprecriate the value to us of these checks that help us to identify tenants accurately and therefore help us to only rent to tenants we can accurately identify. This of course is extremely useful when it comes to any proceedings against tenants. When for us providing we carry out reasonable steps we are saved from criminal proceedings for non compliance with Right to Rent.

We are no longer Rackmanites but responsible business people behaving responsibly.

G-man7266

11:06 AM, 19th December 2018
About 4 weeks ago

It's not a big deal to ask my potential clients (the tenants) for their passports when carrying out all the other paperwork, I would do it anyway as part of my own "know my tenant" checks. Or ask for something similar for identity purposes.

I wouldn't have any issue renting to non-British tenants who have the right to rent. Would I prefer the tenants with British passports? Not necessarily, because a lot of foreign nationals I rent to take far better care of my properties than British passport holders have done. It depends on the individual.

However, do I think that the government pushing the onus on landlords to carry out immigration checks is wrong? Absolutely.

Luke P

11:39 AM, 19th December 2018
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 18/12/2018 - 19:31
I had maybe a five minute pleasant conversation with a woman about a vacant property I had advertised.

She didn't sound like our usual clientele, so early in the conversation I asked if it was for her. She said it was not and mentioned it was for a lad she was helping *whilst he was in the country*. This did not particularly trouble me and we continued to discuss various aspects of the property.

I then brought her back to the point about her saying it was for someone 'whilst they were in the country' and, with Right to Rent in mind, what this meant - is he from outside of the EU (which I suspected, but just wanted to be thorough and demonstrate I was walking through the Government's guidance) and which country he was from? She clarified it was for an asylum seeker from Morocco and they were waiting for his answer, but he's reached an age whereby they cannot look after him with the facilities they have.

I said it wouldn't be a problem, but it does create a little extra administration, at which point she totally changed her attitude, interrupted by saying, "I'll tell you what, listen...no, it's okay it's just a viewing, it's not an interrogation. I will speak to my colleague. Don't worry. Goodbye! (To her colleague: 'Do you know what...[inaudible..but said in an unpleasant manner])"

I immediately received a comment on our Facebook page underneath the property advert telling us how unprofessional we were. I responded that that was grossly unfair and that perhaps her frustration came from being turned away elsewhere (which was certainly not the case in this instance). I also explained that if she did find a LL/agent willing to let without asking questions then they were likely dealing with an amateur at best and a rogue at worst. As asylum seekers are some of the most vulnerable people in society, she could in fact be doing this chap a disservice by trying to find him somewhere that doesn't bother to follow the legislation set by central government.

Clearly she did not like that because we then received a very spurious negative review on our Google listing under a male name (not one of our tenants), the content of which was very closely linked to someone's experience over the phone and not something they'd get from actually renting a property from us...it was obviously her (and to think she was likely working for the local authority)!

David Price

13:00 PM, 19th December 2018
About 4 weeks ago

A large number of telephone enquiries are ended as soon as the caller realises they are dealing with a professional landlord, usually with a closing abusive comment.

Yvonne Francis

15:16 PM, 19th December 2018
About 4 weeks ago

It's Ok of course if you choose to see passports if you wish for identification. But it's being compulsory which gets to me with such draconian penalties if you do not comply. I found it positively ridiculous when this year I had to take on Oxford University students (status checked), all giving me parental guarantees from house owing parents resident in this country (again checked), having to check and obtain a photo copy of their passports. Funnily enough University accommodation or separately built student accommodation, Right to Rent does not apply. I resent, in my circumstance, having to be an unpaid border guard made even worse with the huge liabilities for any mistakes.

Mike

15:34 PM, 19th December 2018
About 4 weeks ago

I was conducting passport checks even before they dreamed about this law, back in 2001/2002 soon after 9/11 when I bought my second property, I intended to part rent it, and part occupy as my second home, so i had one foreign tenant turn up seeking a one room accomodation for him and his wife, told me they were both students who came over to study, I then questioned if they are here to study then how is he going to pay me my rent, he replied that they both also work part time and will have enough money to pay rent. I then asked him to let me check his passport, because it would state if he had a visa that allowed him to work in Britain, he got so annoyed and replied who the hell am I even a police officer cannot ask for a passport, I then replied well it is up to you and I am not a police officer, you want to rent a room in my house then it will be at my terms, not yours or anyone's so I showed him the door and he left.

I did this voluntarily, as I suspected he was not telling the truth, I doubted if he had a student visa and was allowed to work in Britain, and who knows what was his true motive.

but the point is should landlords be responsible? do any other business ask illegal immigrants for their passports when selling them any products or services? why landlords can't offer their product without a passport check?

James Fraser

18:43 PM, 19th December 2018
About 4 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 19/12/2018 - 13:00
David Price:

Yes, how ironic that the industry keeps trying to professionalise itself in the face of constant criticism, only to be told by putative tenants that actually they don’t want us to stick by the rules at all!

There’s no pleasing some people...


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