Right to Rent: Landlord checks on immigration status criticised

Chris Papadopoullos
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Passport control at Gatwick Airport
The rules may disproportionately impact the 17 per cent of UK nationals without passports (Source: Getty)

New rules rolled out across England today that require landlords to check the immigration status of tenants have come under fire.

A survey from the Residential Landlord Association (RLA) this morning reveals 90 per cent of landlords have received no information from the government about the new Right to Rent scheme.

Nearly three quarters of the 1,500 landlords surveyed did not know what the rules obliged them to do.

The RLA also said the rules would disproportionately impact the 17 per cent of UK nationals that did not own a passport. It warned these would mostly be young people and those who were less well off.

The Right to Rent scheme has been live in the West Midlands since December and will eventually be rolled out across the entire UK.

Landlords who fail to carry out the immigration checks required by the scheme could be made to pay up to £3,000 per tenant.

“Should a check reveal that the tenant does not have the right to live in the UK the landlord must report this to the Home Office immediately,” said Antonia Torr, head of immigration services at law firm Howard Kennedy.

“The landlord can then choose to evict that tenant or wait further instructions from the Home Office, as the Home Office does have the power to grant temporary permission to rent. I would not be surprised if many landlords simply choose to evict.”

Renting to wealthy individuals who travel with staff or an entourage would be more difficult, Torr added.

Immigration minister James Brokenshire said: “The scheme builds on the Right to Work checks that employers have been making for some time, and we know that many landlords already carry out simple identity checks as a matter of good practice.”

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