Britons without passports may struggle to access private rental homes due to worries regarding the Right to Rent scheme, according to the latest study by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
The new survey of landlords found that 43% are less likely to let to those who do not have a British passport, due to the fear of criminal sanctions for getting it wrong. According to the 2011 Census, 17% of people in England and Wales did not have a passport.
Almost two-thirds of landlords also said they were less likely to let to those who only have permission to stay in the UK for a limited period of time, while 56% are less likely to rent a property to individuals from outside the EU or EEA.
The survey revealed that 63% of landlords are worried about making a mistake during the checks, or being caught out by forged documents and being unfairly fined. Just 13% of landlords say they’ve found the Home Office’s advice line helpful.
This guide will ensure that you understand how to conduct the checks and your responsibilities under the Right to Rent scheme: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/landlords-guide-right-rent-scheme/
With immigrants more likely to live in rental homes than any other tenure, the RLA is calling for swift clarity on the status of EU nationals living in the UK, to prevent landlords becoming nervous about continuing to let to them.
It is also calling for the publication of clear guidance from the Director for Public Prosecutions to provide much greater assurance that landlords who are seeking to do the right thing, but do get caught out by forged documents, will not face sanctions.
The Policy Director of the RLA, David Smith, says: “These survey findings confirm our fears. Those who cannot easily prove their right to live in the UK, whether they are British or not, are finding it harder to access homes to rent. This is particularly concerning for those UK nationals without a passport – many of them the most vulnerable in society.
“Landlords are quite reasonably becoming ultra-cautious to avoid tough criminal sanctions and need reassurance that they will not be punished when they get fooled by false documents.”
He insists: “They are not trained immigration officers.”
With criminal sanctions for failing to comply with the Right to Rent scheme coming in from 1st December, you must remember to fulfil your obligations and stick to the law at all times.