Right to Rent could impact British citizens without passports

Almost a fifth of British citizens could find it harder to access rental property, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

The industry trade body reports that 44% of over 900 landlords it surveyed said they are less likely to let homes to tenants without a British passport.

This means that for the 17% of British people who don’t currently own a passport, gaining access to housing in the Private Rented Sector may become more difficult.

The RLA has been researching the impact of the government’s Right to Rent scheme, which has been in operation since February 2016.

Under the legislation, landlords – or letting agents acting on their behalf – are required to check the immigration status of all prospective tenants.

The landlord survey found that 51% of participants are now less likely to consider letting to people who are currently living outside of the UK.

Meanwhile, some 22% said they are less likely to let to EU nationals or those from the European Economic Area.

The RLA believes that criminal sanctions introduced for non-compliance with the scheme in December have made landlords even more wary about letting to tenants who are unable to prove their identity easily.

“These figures show the damage that the Right to Rent scheme is causing for those who might have the right to rent property, but cannot easily prove their identity,” says David Smith, the RLA’s policy director.

“The added threat of criminal sanctions is clearly leading many landlords to become even more cautious about who they rent to.”

He says the ‘dangerous’ and ‘divisive’ policy must be ‘scrapped’.

The RLA has voiced its support for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants’ (JCWI) campaign for a legal challenge against the rollout of the Right to Rent scheme across the rest of the UK.

It says it will be taking part alongside the JCWI as an interested party on the basis that the scheme discriminates against those who cannot easily prove their immigration status, even if they have the right to rent property.

JCWI’s crowdfunding campaign finished yesterday. It attracted 108 donations and raised £5090, £90 more than its original £5,000 target.

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