The immigration charity the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants says it is working with a range of other bodies - some within the property industry - to offer its view of the Right To Rent pilot in the West Midlands.
The pilot has been run in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall. Since December, landlords and agents in these areas have been required to check the immigration status of all new adult tenants, sub-tenants and lodgers entering into new tenancies to assess whether they have right to rent in the UK.
JCWI says it is worked with the Chartered Institute of Housing, Generation Rent, Coventry Law Centre, Shelter, the National Union of Students and other groups to provide an independent assessment of the scheme.
The JCWI says its aims with the assessment are:
- to monitor the pilot scheme for discrimination and human rights implications for immigrants, black and ethnic minorities and indigenous people as a result of the scheme;
- to assess the impact on those who become destitute or are subject to exploitation by their landlords; and
- to evaluate the efficacy of the scheme and the impact it has on landlords, agents and tenants.
JCWI says it will publish an interim report with the evidence it has received at the end of this month, to inform the government about “the human impact of [its] policies, which may otherwise be ignored before a national rollout takes place.”
It is reported that the JCWI has so far found tenants are typically charged an extra £100 in administration fees for the Right To Rent check.
Section 20 to 37 of the Immigration Act 2014 contains provisions to make it compulsory for landlords to check the immigration status of all new adult tenants.
A failure to conduct the checks and to provide accommodation to those without leave to remain could lead to a penalty of £1,000 per tenant and £80 per lodger, rising to £3,000 and £500 for repeated offences by landlords or their agents.
The former coalition government initially agreed to a six month ‘pilot’ of the scheme to run for six months, from December 2014 to May 2015, after which the Home Office would produce an evaluation report before any national rollout took place.