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Unfair landlords reject migrant right to rent tenants

18 August 2015

Landlords are refusing to let homes to migrants so they do not have to comply with Right to Rent rules, according to research into a pilot scheme running in the West Midlands.

Since December, anyone renting out a home in the region has to ensure the tenant has the right to live in the UK by checking their passports, visas and other proof of residence.

However, an anonymous mystery shopper exercise carried out by a charity found 11 out of 27 landlords and letting agents rejected inquiries to rent homes from migrants out of hand as a way of working around the rules.

The charity claims right to rent is unfair to anyone who is not British who wants to rent a home.
Separate figures released by the Home Office show seven landlords have been fined for breaking right to rent rules in the West Midlands.

Although the rules allow maximum fines of £3,000, they were ordered to pay an average £782 each.
The Home Office also explained two more landlords may face sanctions for breaking the rules and the data from the pilot scheme is still under consideration.

However, the Department of Communities and Local Government has already announced right to rent will roll out to cover England later this year.

Penalties for landlords and letting agents will be increased under the proposed Immigration Bill, which went before Parliament last week.

A Home Office spokesman said: “The evaluation of Right to Rent is currently being completed, but there are no indications so far to suggest landlord checks are being carried out unfairly.

“Right to Rent is not designed to be a money-making scheme or to catch out honest landlords. Instead, we want to help landlords carry out the proper checks so that those who do not have the right to be in the UK cannot access rented accommodation.

“We do not recognise figures suggesting only half of landlords checked potential tenants’ right to rent.”