The Residential Landlords Association has highlighted problems caused by the government’s ‘Right to Rent’ scheme. Nearly half of all landlords quizzed by a leading landlord insurance company categorically stated that they would not let a property to anyone without a UK passport. 22% of landlords questioned also expressed doubts about offering a tenancy to EU nationals.
With continued confusion surrounding Brexit and the status of EU citizens living in the UK, this makes it much harder for anyone without a UK passport to find somewhere to live. It is also a problem for 17% of citizens who don’t have a passport.
Landlords Afraid of Repercussions
When asked why they were so reluctant to let properties to non-UK passport holders, landlords explained that they feared the repercussions of allowing a bogus passport holder to slip through the net. Unfortunately, this is having an effect on UK citizens without a passport.
Any landlord who has “reasonable cause to believe” that the person letting their property does not have the correct immigration status is committing a criminal offence. Penalties for conviction range from fines to a prison offence, and possibly both.
Changes to Right to Rent Scheme
The new changes to the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme came into effect in December 2016. If a landlord finds out a tenant is disqualified from letting a property, they must issue a 28-day eviction notice. If the landlord submits a Section 8 notice and doesn’t refer to the Immigration Act 2016, it is invalid and the eviction will fail on technical grounds.