New guidance over Right To Rent, issued by the government in what appears to be a panic response to the Windrush controversy, has been dismissed by a trade body as lacking in clarity.
The update, posted on the government’s website, is targeted at letting agents and landlords involved in letting property in England to Commonwealth citizens who are part of the Windrush generation - long-term residents of the UK who have no formal documents to demonstrate their rightful status in this country.
The update explains their position and gives details of a helpline for agents and landlords to call if they are concerned about a prospective tenants’ ability to evident their right to rent. There is also a helpline number for prospective tenants to call, should they be unable to evidence their Right to Rent.
However, the Residential Landlords’ Association has branded the update “inadequate”, adding that the government should deal properly with Commonwealth citizens.
The association has long campaigned against Right to Rent, and is supporting a judicial review, launched by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants.
Under the Right to Rent Scheme, landlords - or their agents in their place - are responsible for checking the immigration status of tenants with the prospect of prosecution if they know or have “reasonable cause to believe” that the property they are letting is occupied by someone who does not have the right to rent in the UK.
The fear of criminal sanctions has made many landlords reluctant about renting to non-UK nationals out of fear of being duped by forged documents, according to the RLA.
Research by the JCWI has found that the scheme has made 51 per cent of landlords less likely to consider letting to foreign nationals.
You can see the government's latest Right To Rent update here.