Lack of clarity around Right to Rent rules is impacting tenants

by Jason McClean

17:04 PM, 17th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Lack of clarity around Right to Rent rules is impacting tenants

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Lack of clarity around Right to Rent rules is impacting tenants

Britons who do not have a passport are struggling to rent as a result of immigration checks, according to a new survey.

New immigration checks were introduced earlier this year with all private landlords in England required to check that new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property as of 1 February 2016.

Known as the Right to Rent scheme, the checks have been introduced as part of the government’s effort to create a more effective immigration system.

Those without a UK passport are faced with 43% of private landlords being less likely to let to them, a survey by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has revealed.

63% of landlords are worried that they will make a mistake or accept forged documents by accident and therefore face an unfair fine, as under the current rules landlords face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant for failing to check if a potential tenant has a right to be in the UK.

Landlords are required to check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country by examining their documents. A complete list of acceptable documents can be found here.

Only 13% of landlords have revealed that they found the Home Office’s Advice Line helpful.

“From the research presented by the RLA, it is clear that landlords are still uncertain on the Right to Rent rules which have been in force for several months now. Landlords need to be provided with more information which is clear and useful in identifying and understanding which documents are acceptable,” said a spokesperson for Property 118’s landlord insurance provider Discount Insurance.

“Landlords being unsure is having a direct impact on tenants, particularly British tenants who do not have passports,” added the spokesperson.

17% of UK residents who do not have a passport could be wrongly denied access to buy to let homes.

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Comments

Old Mrs Landlord

17:31 PM, 17th November 2016
About 2 years ago

We encountered this problem soon after the legislation came into effect. Young British woman no passport and only short version of birth certificate. Had to apply for full birth cert.which took a while. Could have deterred some prospective tenants or possibly caused family upset if father's identity came as a surprise.

Romain Garcin

19:45 PM, 17th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Employers have had to carry out such checks for years so I genuinely don't understand how an employed prospective tenant could not have acceptable documents.

Old Mrs Landlord

21:15 PM, 17th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain Garcin" at "17/11/2016 - 19:45":

As far as I am aware, employers only need carry out checks of this type on immigrants. Many practise ethnicity monitoring of their workforce but that's in the interest of equal opportunities I believe

Romain Garcin

21:26 PM, 17th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Old Mrs Landlord" at "17/11/2016 - 21:15":

Hi,

No, this is the same as the new checks for landlords: An employer must not hire someone who hasn't a right to work and can establish a statutory excuse by carrying right to work checks on applicants.
For British citizens this means showing a passport or full birth certificate.

This has been in force since 2006.

The only explanation is that many small employers ignore this. So I'm thinking that many small landlords will also ignore these checks.

Romain Garcin

21:40 PM, 17th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Old Mrs Landlord" at "17/11/2016 - 21:15":

Actually, it is exactly the same as the new checks for landlords.

The only explanation is that many small employers simply do not carry out right to work checks...

Mick Roberts

6:52 AM, 18th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Most of my tenants are Housing Benefit tenants.
Most of them have no passports.

I did the check on the Govt website a year or so ago. Nearly ALL of my tenants wouldn't be allowed to rent a house.
I've known them 30-40 years.
I know they've been born in the the UK.

Yet I can't rent them a house? I don't think so, do u...........

Romain Garcin

7:37 AM, 18th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Old Mrs Landlord" at "17/11/2016 - 21:15":

Actually, the procedure for employers is basically the same as the new procedure for landlords.

The only explanation is that many small employers simply do not care and do not perform 'right to work' checks.

Old Mrs Landlord

9:40 AM, 18th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain Garcin" at "18/11/2016 - 07:37":

That being the case, please accept my apologies for my misunderstanding of the rules. Now in my late seventies, I've clearly been out of the employed workforce so long I am not up to date with current regulations and should not have relied on the experience of younger employees.

David Price

10:10 AM, 18th November 2016
About 2 years ago

No passport, no tenancy. There is no way in which I am going to risk a fine for inadvertently getting a document check wrong and in any case the no passport rule eliminates many undesirables, the genuine people who suffer as a result should contact their MP.

Romain Garcin

10:53 AM, 18th November 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Old Mrs Landlord" at "18/11/2016 - 09:40":

Sorry about the multiple replies, they did not appear when I posted so I thought they got lost...

Check are not mandatory. The issue is to be sure that a prospective tenant has a right to rent.
Considering the example of employers, I think that many landlords will probably not bother or only perform checks when a prospective tenant looks or sounds foreign, which is obviously risky and not a good practice.

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