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Right To Rent: government to be asked today to reveal pilot project results

Labour will today ask Home Secretary Theresa May to publish the result of the Right To Rent pilot project amidst claims that a national roll-out will lead to “widespread discrimination.”

Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham will use the official House of Commons Home Office question time this afternoon to quiz May.

Then tomorrow - when the Immigration Bill, including the Right To Rent provision, returns to the Commons to be debated - Labour will proposed what is formally called a Reasoned Amendment to the measure. This will call for “firm and fair controls” on illegal immigration but it will also strike out the current Right To Rent provisions which Labour claims will lead to widespread discrimination.

The Immigration Act 2014 obliged agents and landlords in the West Midlands to carry out document checks and keep records to identify if a potential tenant has the right to reside in the UK. Where an agent accepts responsibility for compliance with the new rules, the agent will be the ‘liable party’ in place of the landlord.

The coalition government, in power before the May 7 election, introduced the measures into one pilot region of Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton last December, promising a roll out across the UK in 2015.

The rules for the pilot in the West Midlands obliged agents to check the status of would-be tenants for all new tenancy agreements. In most cases this was believed to have involved checking the tenant's passport or biometric residents permit; appropriate records need to be kept for up to 12 months after the tenancy ends. Agents or landlords were able to request a check using an online form, which provided answers within two working days. 

The pilot also applied to individuals taking in lodgers and also applied to tenants who sub-let properties. Failure to abide by the regulations risked a £3,000 fine.

The new Bill currently rolls out the measure to the rest of the country - this would probably happen early next year if the Bill was backed by MPs and became an Act.


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