The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has started what is described as an official inspection of Right To Rent.
Legislation in the 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts included provisions for the creation of a so-called ‘hostile environment’ for illegal immigrants. Part of this requires letting agents and landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants before entering into a tenancy agreement.
There has been controversy surrounding the effectiveness of this, whether it has led to direct or indirect discrimination against some tenants, and whether letting agents and landlords are sufficiently skilled to recognise imitation paperwork.
Now the ICIBI wants to examine, firstly, the planning for the initial introduction of RtR, including success criteria, and the identification and mitigation of risks and issues.
It also wants to evaluate the first phase of Right To Rent rolled out in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton from December 2014, and how this informed the development of RtR, including sanctions for non-compliance.
There will also be an evaluation of the Right To Rent sanctions, and the Home Office’s performance in issuing civil penalties, pursuing criminal prosecutions, removing illegal immigrants and data-sharing with other departments of government.
A statement from the government says the ICIBI “is keen to receive written evidence from anyone who has knowledge and experience of any of the above areas. Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
It emphasises that this inspection will not examine any unintended consequences of Right To Rent, such as discrimination against would-be tenants, increased homelessness, or displacement.