New research reveals that the Right to Rent pilot scheme, which is running in the Midlands has led to tenants being charged additional fees and is making it harder for foreigners to rent a property.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) surveyed landlords and tenants in the pilot area since the roll-out, and found that tenants are being charged an extra £100 in administration fees. The survey also indicated that landlords are now more hesitant to offer viewings to anyone needing more time to provide paperwork, meaning migrants are more likely to be turned down.
The research also shows that landlords are discriminating between applicants on the basis of their background and are preparing to turn away tenants because they have a foreign accent. Furthermore, some legitimate tenants who cannot easily identify themselves using a British or EU passport are finding it harder to secure somewhere to live.
Jane Morris, Managing Director of Property Let By Us comments: “This research clearly shows the dilemma that landlords are facing. On the one hand they want to be fair to prospective tenants, but on the other hand, they are fearful of renting a property to an illegal immigrant.
“One example of the Right to Rent Scheme features an American tenant who reported that her British husband could secure viewings for the same properties she had been told were no longer available. It is understandable why some landlords and agents are turning down foreigners before any checks are made.
“Under the pilot scheme, would-be tenants have to produce evidence from a checklist of documents that they have permission to be in the UK and landlords have to take a copy for their records. So before dismissing a prospective tenant, it is important that agents and landlords make all the necessary checks.
“For example, if an agent is taking on the responsibility for checking an occupier’s immigration status, he/she must agree this in writing and must report the findings to the landlord. Agents should set out timescales for checks and reports in the agency agreement and report occupiers without the right to rent to the landlord in writing. If the landlord still authorises a tenancy agreement, they will be liable for the penalty.
“In the event of a breach, where an occupier is found to be living illegally in a rented property, the agent or landlord will need to establish a statutory excuse to avoid a penalty. A statutory excuse can be maintained if the agent/landlord can prove they have carried out all the necessary checks and notified the Home Office of any breaches.
“For the first time a landlord breaches the rules, a fine of £1,000 per illegal adult occupier will apply. If they have already been in breach within the last three years, a fine of £3,000 per adult will apply.”
For more information, please visit www.propertyletbyus.com