A trade body has spoken out about the lack of detail in government plans for Right To Rent, as contained in its immigration White Paper released last week.
In the document the government speaks of a digital checking service which is apparently in development for use after Brexit, which would enable individuals to access and share their status information with third parties.
This would, in theory, mean real time verification of status would be available for letting agents and landlords seeking to confirm an individual’s rights and eligibility, based on their immigration status, in accordance with Right To Rent.
The National Landlords Association says that, according to the Home Office, this process will be simpler, more secure and up-to-date than checking a variety of documentation.
However, the NLA says it goes no further to address the association’s long-standing concerns about Right To Rent. The NLA has been lobbying for more robust protections for landlords than initially proposed.
Right To Rent has also been the subject of long-term criticism by the rival landlords body, the Residential Landlords Association.
The RLA wants Right to Rent policy to be scrapped altogether, arguing it discriminates against those unable to easily prove their identity and foreign-born nationals who have documents unfamiliar to landlords.
It is calling also for urgent guidance to be issued by the government providing clear information for landlords about the right of EU citizens to rent property, especially in the case of a no-deal Brexit.
RLA policy director David Smith says Right To Rent, introduced in 2016, was not easily understandable by the lettings industry.
“Landlords cannot be blamed for taking a cautious approach, as they are not immigration officers. It is a policy that clearly leads to discrimination against certain groups and needs to be brought to an end,” said Smith.
“Despite promises from the Home Office, little progress has been made and this is reflected in figures.
“Also the government has so far failed to provide any single document providing clear advice to landlords about the rights of EU nationals to rent property in the event of a no-deal Brexit
“It is leaving many with a sense of frustration as they do not know if they should renew tenancies and create new one,” he says.