Landlords becoming reluctant to rent to EU nationals due to Brexit No Deal worries

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Right to Rent is creating a hostile atmosphere in the UK’s private rented sector with more landlords refusing to consider renting to non-British nationals, including citizens from the European Union.

Some 44% of private rented sector landlords are less likely to rent to those without a British passport, up from 42% a year ago, according to research from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

But the research also found that landlords are reluctant to rent to European Union citizens due to concerns about Brexit. Some 20% of landlords said that they are less likely to consider letting property to EU or EEA nationals, up from 17% in 2017.

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

The Right to Rent scheme, which was introduced in 2016, has never been popular as it requires landlords to carry out immigration checks to make sure that they do not rent a property to someone who does not have the right to live in the UK.

It means that 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 and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) both argue that the policy discriminates against foreign nationals, especially those who cannot easily prove their right to remain in the UK.

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.

‘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,’ said David Smith, policy director for the RLA.

‘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,’ he pointed out.

‘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,’ he added.

Chai Patel, legal policy director for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the policy amounts to ‘extraordinarily intrusive red tape that conscripts landlords as border officials on pain of imprisonment’.

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Written by: Houseladder