Right to Rent - The Cautious Landlord

THE RIGHT TO RENT SCHEME: Cautious landlords are not letting homes to people without British passports

The ‘Right to Rent’ check which has been mandated for all the landlords in England involves verification of documents of prospective tenants by landlords to ensure that the prospective tenants are not illegal immigrants. If an illegal immigrant is found to be staying in a property, the landlord could end up paying a fine of up to £3,000. Landlords who are repeated offenders could get imprisoned for a period of not more than five years.

A research conducted by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) suggests that the fear of the punishments mentioned above for non-compliance of the ‘Right to Rent’ check rule has led to more and more landlords opting to lend only to British passport holders.  In the survey which was conducted among 108 landlords, 51% of the participants said that the likelihood of letting their properties to a foreigner has decreased because of the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme.  42% of the participants surveyed revealed that the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme has made them more skeptical about accepting people without British passports as tenants.

The study claims that the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme has led to discrimination of prospective tenants by landlords while acknowledging that the landlords have been put in a situation where they are forced to discriminate. Apart from the disadvantages faced by foreigners and racial minorities while trying to get houses on rent, the scheme has resulted in a large majority of the UK population being discriminated against in the rental market as only 17% of the British citizens have passports. Further, the study mentions how the Government has been unable to provide any evidence for the benefits of the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme. Based on the findings of the research, the paper concludes that the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme must be scrapped altogether.  

The Chief Executive of JCWI, Saira Grant, said the following about the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme after unveiling the research:

“We have been warning for some time that the right to rent scheme is failing on all fronts.

It treats many groups who need housing unfairly, it is clearly discriminatory, it is putting landlords in an impossible position, and there is no evidence that it is doing anything to tackle irregular immigration.

Creating a so called ‘hostile environment’ that targets vulnerable men, women and children is bad enough, implementing a scheme that traps and discriminates against British citizens is absurd. It is time to stop the scheme before it does any more damage.”