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Right to rent is “dangerous, divisive and must be scrapped” says RLA

Association says research shows threat of prosecution is causing discrimination because landlords fear fines if they make a mistake.

Nigel Lewis

uk passport right to rentThe government’s Right to Rent checks introduced in February 2016 have been heavily criticised by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) following research among its members.

Launched today, the research reveals that nearly half of its member landlords are less likely to rent a property to someone without a passport.

“This is a dangerous and divisive policy that is causing discrimination. It must be scrapped,” says the RLA’s Policy Director David Smith.

The Right to Rent checks, which were designed to help prevent those without permission to be in the UK to rent a property, are also affecting the 17% of UK adults in the UK who don’t have a passport, the RLA says.

Right to Rent has also made landlords more cautious about renting their property to non UK citizens in general; 51% of landlords questioned said they were less likely to considering letting a property to foreigner arriving into the UK whether they have the right to rent here or not.

And as uncertainty of Brexit continues, nearly a quarter of the landlords said they were less likely to consider renting their property to someone from the EU.

But the research suggests that, rather than being xenophobic landlords are instead nervous of being prosecuted and fined after criminal sanctions were added to the Right to Rent scheme in December last year.

Reasonable cause

The wording of the legislation would appear to be the main problem – landlords who are found to know or have “reasonable cause to believe” that a tenant doesn’t have a Right to Rent in the UK are open to prosecution.

This, the RLA says, has made landlords even more concerned about renting to non-UK citizens or those without a passport.

“These figures show the damage that the right to rent scheme is causing for those who might have the right to rent property, but cannot easily prove their identity,” says David Smith.

“The added threat of criminal sanctions is clearly leading many landlords to become even more cautious about who they rent to.”

June 16, 2017

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