Right to Rent:
The Right to Rent Scheme was introduced in England in February 2016 after a short pilot scheme was run in the west midlands. Since then the Home Office has issued around 400 fines to landlords and agents.
The Right to Rent scheme puts the onus of checking prospective tenants for their immigration status – their right to reside in England – and to make and keep copies of ID documentation, on to landlords.
Failure to follow the regulatory guidelines opens up landlords, and those agents who have been delegated the responsivity for this, to fines of up to £3,000 per tenant. But, according to the Home Office statistics, the average fine levied, across the board, is averaging just below £654.
The Press Association’s analysis of the Home Office figues reveals that the peak period for fines issued for Right to Rent defaults was April to June 2017 (76), followed by July to September 2017 (75), since when the level of fines has declined, Jan-March 2018 to (39).
Commenting on the fines Chris Norris, the National Landlord Association’s director of policy and practice, told the Press Association, the figures show that landlords are increasingly aware of their responsibilities, but that the scheme has placed an additional cost on an already pressurised sector:
“It is important to remember that landlords are neither immigration experts nor border agents,”
“The Right to Rent scheme has placed an additional cost on an already pressurised sector, while the excessive checks and lack of monitoring may have had harmful consequences for would-be and vulnerable tenants.”
A Home Office spokeswoman has said:
“It’s right that we have a compliant environment to deter illegal immigration and protect public services and it is a policy that has been operated under successive governments.
“The Right to Rent checks were developed with the input of the Landlords Consultative Panel and there is online guidance as well as a helpline to ensure the scheme is fully understood.”