Windrush Right to Rent Government updateMake Text Bigger
In a knee-jerk response to the Windrush scandal the government has posted new Right to Rent guidance for Landlords and Letting agents below:
Landlords: guidance on right to rent checks on undocumented Commonwealth citizens – Updated 25 April 2018
This information is for landlords wishing to rent private residential property in England to Commonwealth citizens (known as ‘Windrush’ cases) who are long-term residents of the UK but do not have documents to demonstrate their status. It explains their position and what you should do.
The government recognises that some people who have lived in the UK for most of their lives are having difficulty providing the necessary evidence of their status. We want to help them to get the documents to prove their right to live here and to support landlords undertaking right to rent checks.
1. Status and right to rent
If a prospective tenant has lived in the UK permanently since before 1973 and has not been away for long periods in the last 30 years, they have the right to be here and to rent property.
If a prospective tenant came to the UK after 1 January 1973 then they might not have the automatic right to be here, but they may be allowed to stay here permanently and will have the right to rent property.
2. What you should do
Please contact the Home Office checking service immediately if you are concerned about a prospective tenant’s ability to evidence their right to rent or concerned about the checks you are required to undertake.
Telephone: 0300 069 9799
Monday to Thursday: 9am to 4.45pm
Friday: 9am to 4.30pm
Please ask prospective tenants who cannot evidence their right to rent to get in contact with the dedicated unit in the Home Office so we can help them with the necessary documents to prove their status in the UK.
Freephone: 0800 678 1925
Monday to Saturday: 9am to 5pm
Sunday: 10am to 4pm
3. Home Secretary statement to Parliament (April 2018)
On 23 April 2018, the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, made a statement to Parliament about new measures to establish a permanent and sustainable solution for members of the Windrush generation who have been in the country for decades but found themselves unable to evidence their legal right to remain in the UK.
Amber Rudd announced that the Home Office will:
- waive the citizenship fee for anyone in the Windrush generation who wishes to apply for citizenship – this applies to those who have no current documentation, and also to those who have it
- waive the requirement to carry out a Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test
- waive the fee for the children of the Windrush generation who are in the UK who need to apply for naturalisation
- ensure that those who made their lives here but have now retired to their country of origin, are able to come back to the UK – the cost of any fees associated with this process will be waived
- be setting up a new scheme to compensate people who have suffered loss – this will be run by an independent person
- establish a new customer contact centre, so anyone who is struggling to navigate the many different immigration routes can speak to a person and get appropriate advice
- ensure that people who arrived after 1973 but before 1988 can also access the dedicated Windrush team so they can access the support and assistance needed to establish their claim to be here legally
The above is already out of date with the resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary.
This sorry and embarrassing episode is a brilliant example of why landlords should not be asked to take on the responsibilities of immigration officers and also explains why landlords are now so much more reticent to let properties to foreign nationals. It is a step too far and a role that landlords if they are not a ‘business’ should not have to take the burden of.
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