WHAT CAN I DO NEXT?
In 2014, the government introduced new obligations on landlords that made them responsible for checking their tenant's immigration status before granting a tenancy. Landlords had to comply with these 'right to rent' checks or face large fines or potential jail sentences.
Many landlords were overwhelmed by this as it effectively forced them to act as part of the UK's border control without offering any training in the matter.
Worse, due to the confusing way the legislation was set out, where the landlords did fully understand their requirements many found it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to check their tenant's right to rent status before granting a tenancy.
For example, EU citizens moving from their home country to the UK would have to meet the landlord in person before granting the tenancy. Similarly, only 76% of the population of England and Wales had a UK passport in the last census making it difficult for British nationals to prove their status too.
The RLA is calling on the Government to scrap the right to rent requirements and stop forcing landlords to discriminate against tenants.
what is the issue?
Since the right to rent checks were introduced, the RLA has argued that it effectively forces them to discriminate against tenants, breaching their human rights in the process.
Our research found that the fear of getting things wrong led to 44% of private landlords being less likely to rent to those without a British passport.
It also found 53% of landlords were less likely to rent to those with limited time to remain in the UK, whilst 20 per cent said that they were less likely to consider letting property to EU or EEA nationals.
With that in mind we supported a case in the High Court regarding right to rent. Justice Spencer in giving his judgement was clear that right to rent -
does not merely provide the occasion or opportunity for private landlords to discriminate but causes them to do so where otherwise they would notJustice Spencer
Unfortunately, despite the courts finding that right to rent was incompatible with human rights, the legislation is still in force and landlords still need to comply with it. As a result, landlords and agents are stuck in the uncomfortable position of being forced to discriminate by the law and liable to their tenants for this discrimination.
This cannot continue. The right to rent legislation must be scrapped. Landlords should not be forced to discriminate against their tenants for no good reason. That is why the RLA will be continuing to challenge this unfair legislation in the Court of Appeal in 2020.
Research Provided by RLA PEARL. See more
in the media
Despite the court decision, landlords still need to comply with their right to rent obligations. To make sure our landlords can confidently comply, we have produced a number of guides and tools to assist with this.