Forty four per cent of private landlords are less likely to rent to those without a British passport, up from 42 per cent last year, according to new research from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
This research comes as the High Court recently begun a Judicial Review of the Government’s Right to Rent scheme, which is considered responsible for creating a hostile atmosphere in the UK’s private rented sector.
Under the Right to Rent scheme that began operating nationwide in 2016, landlords are responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants and could face prosecution if they knowingly rent to individuals who do not have a right to rent property in the UK.
Many landlords are now refusing to consider renting to non-British nationals, including citizens from the European Union, according to research from the RLA.
20 per cent of landlords said that they are less likely to consider letting a rental property to EU or EEA nationals, suggesting that the uncertainty caused by Brexit has added to hesitancy among landlords in renting to anyone who does not hold a British passport.
The RLA is calling for the Right to Rent policy to be scrapped altogether, arguing that it discriminates against those unable to easily prove their identity. It is also calling for urgent guidance to be issued by the Government to landlords about the right of EU citizens to rent property, especially in the case of a no deal Brexit.
The RLA and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) argue that the policy discriminates against foreign nationals, especially those who cannot easily prove their right to remain in the UK.
David Smith, policy director for the RLA said: “The Right to Rent is creating a hostile environment for those who are legitimately in the UK but may have documentation that is not easy to understand for landlords.
“It creates needless friction between landlords and tenants. 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. 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 ones.”
Chai Patel, legal policy director for Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said: “Sajid Javid promised he would learn the lessons of the Windrush scandal, which left many thousands of legal immigrants to the UK destitute, detained, and even deported.
“But he is ignoring the clear evidence, further reinforced by today’s new RLA findings, that requiring landlords to check immigration status does not work and causes exactly the kinds of problems that the Windrush generation faced.
“Not only is he ignoring our evidence, he is fighting us in court to stop the Home Office from being required to do its own evaluation into whether the scheme is harming ethnic minorities and foreign nationals with every right to rent property.
“He is ignoring the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s recommendations to do the same.
“This is extraordinarily intrusive red tape that conscripts landlords as border officials on pain of imprisonment, and Sajid Javid won’t even check that it’s working as planned. He has clearly learnt nothing from Theresa May and Amber Rudd’s mistakes.”