14:50 PM, 14th February 2023, About A year ago 4
Landlords do not ‘systemically discriminate’ against tenants, according to a new Home Office report.
The government has published the findings of a evaluation into the operation of the Right to Rent Scheme. The scheme requires landlords of privately rented accommodation to conduct checks on all new tenants to establish if they have a legal right to live in the UK and therefore have the right to rent.
The study included 300 interviews with landlords and a ‘mystery shopper’ exercise involving 2,000 tenants who approached landlords and letting agents.
The central question in the evaluation was whether the Right to Rent scheme leads to unlawful race discrimination.
In the findings, the Home Office said: “Some clear examples of discriminatory attitudes were found, but there was insufficient evidence to claim any systematic unlawful discrimination as a result of the scheme.”
The report highlighted that most landlords and letting agents were helpful (67%) and friendly (65%) and Right to Rent requirements were dealt with in a matter-of-fact way, with some landlords not mentioning the checks at all at this stage of the rental process.
The report said that 14% of landlords would not rent to a UK national without a passport.
The research found that landlords who don’t use a letting agent tended to have less of an understanding of the Right to Rent scheme’s details. In the data, 53% of landlords considered themselves to be well or quite well informed about the scheme, with 44% considering themselves poorly or not at all informed.
In total, 55% of landlords said that they have a positive opinion of the Right to Rent scheme. In the survey, landlords said: “It is an extra layer of protection for me, to ensure that there would be no lengthy and costly evictions if I took on someone who shouldn’t be renting in the first place.”
However there were some negative comments about the scheme. The key reason for a negative opinion towards the scheme was that the responsibility for immigration checks should not fall on landlords. A landlord said in the survey: “It’s hard to avoid discrimination and whilst it hasn’t increased my workload it has considerably increased my costs. I’m also nervous about inadvertently breaching it.”
Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark said: “It is clear from this review that self-managing landlords have a knowledge gap and it’s not surprising.
“Right to Rent has been through many complex changes in the last three years with Covid 19 lockdowns, the end of freedom of movement due to the UK’s exit from the EU and the introduction of the Home Office’s real time digital systems.”
He added: “Professional agents, particularly those in membership with a body like Propertymark, taking their compliance responsibilities seriously dedicate time and CPD to ensuring they are fully compliant.”
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