Right To Rent immigration checks is leading to a situation where lawful tenants are being refused housing according to the Residential Landlords Association.
Under the government’s plans, private sector landlords are legally responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants. Having been piloted in the West Midlands, the government announced last month that it would be expanded nationwide, with landlords facing up to five years in prison for failure to undertake the right checks.
But the RLA - which accused the government of trying “to turn landlords into border police” - says research by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants shows that agents and landlords conducting Right To Rent checks are increasingly cautious about letting to any tenant with identity documents which are not familiar.
Details of the JCWI research were carried on Letting Agent Today last week.
“Whilst the RLA opposes discrimination against tenants because of their race or nationality, the government’s plans are causing confusion and anxiety for many landlords.
“If the Government expect landlords to act as border police it should provide the training and material needed to give them the confidence to carry out the checks required of them” says RLA policy director David Smith.
“In the absence of such support [the JCWI] research sadly shows the inevitable consequences of the policy which the RLA has long voiced concerns about. Faced with considerable sanctions, landlords will inevitably play it safe where a tenant’s identity documents are either unclear or simply not known to them.”
He adds: “Ministers should halt plans to proceed with its rollout to allow time for proper scrutiny and consideration of the impact it is likely to have.”