Right to Rent Scheme

Right to Rent Scheme

The Right to Rent scheme was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 and it applies to people who are subletting their property or taking in lodgers.  The scheme requires landlords and or agents to check the immigration status of all new prospective tenants in order to make sure they have the right to rent property in the country. In effect, if the prospective tenant fails to provide evidence that they have a right to remain in the United Kingdom (UK), the landlord and or agent would decline their application; thus, denying them access to private
rented accommodation in the UK.  Landlords who fail to carry out checks risk a potential penalty of up to £3,000 per tenant or a prison sentence of up to five years. This scheme was first in operation in the West Midlands from December 2014, and it extended across England in February 2016.

The Government has over time been asked to review this scheme as critics have indicated that it is discriminatory, and it imposes costs on landlords, agents and tenants too. Critics say the scheme lacks any form of monitoring or evaluation mechanism which would allow the Government to measure its effectiveness or ‘whether it is creating unintended consequences’.

The Chief Inspector of Borders, the Residential Landlords Association and Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) have all provided the Government with evidence of the need for a review.

In a report by JCWI, foreigners and British citizens without passports, are unable to provide the necessary documentation to prove that they have the right to remain in the UK. They further state that ‘42% of landlords stated that they were less likely to rent to someone without a British passport as a result of the scheme. This rose to 48% when explicitly asked to consider the impact of the criminal sanction.

David Bolt, The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, recently commented that, ‘the Right to Rent (RtR) scheme had yet to demonstrate its worth as a tool to encourage immigration compliance, with the Home Office failing to coordinate, maximise or even measure effectively its use, while at the same time doing little to address the concerns of stakeholders’.

The Right to Rent does not only affect migrants in the England but also British nationals who do not have passports. Other people who have been affected by this scheme are the Windrush generation. It is anticipated that this scheme will be reviewed by the Government and that proper and adequate measures will be put in place to guard against the risk of homelessness and exploitation of lawful residents whilst maintaining an immigration system which is fair to those residing in the UK legally, ‘but firm with those who try to break the rules’.

If you have been affected by this scheme or would like any further information or advice regarding this, then please contact Yemi Alli on 02477 710218 or yemi.alli@alsterskelley.com

 

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