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Politics

Brexit will stop landlords renting to EU nationals under Right to Rent scheme

The government has not told landlords how to handle tenants’ changing immigration statuses after Brexit

Landlords are warning that the rental market could become even more hostile to non-UK citizens after Brexit.

Under the Right to Rent scheme, private landlords are expected to check tenants’ immigration statuses and could be fined up to £3,000 for every person without the right to rent found in a property.

But ministers have failed to publish any guidance on the implications of Brexit or any advice on how best to navigate the process after the UK leaves the EU – leaving experts concerned that more landlords will be hesitant to let homes to non-UK citizens.

David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said: “Landlords are not border police and cannot be expected to know who does and who does not have the right to live here.

“The government needs to publish clear and practical guidance for landlords about who they can and cannot rent to. If they do not, more landlords will become increasingly fearful about renting to non-UK nationals with the potential of facing prosecution.

“The result will be they will avoid renting to anyone who is not a UK national making life difficult for EU nationals.”

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Two thirds of all EU nationals living in the UK are in private rented housing.

Last month, a High Court judge ruled that the Right to Rent scheme breached human rights law and led to discrimination by landlords.

The initiative was introduced by Theresa May as Home Secretary as part of the government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy package designed to target illegal immigrants.

Meera Chindooroy, policy and public affairs manager at the National Landlords Association, said:

“The current advice from the government is for landlords to keep doing what they’re doing for Right to Rent checks. It’s unclear if and when that will change.

“Landlords are worried about ensuring they remain compliant with legislation. However, we are also waiting to see what the outcome of the recent High Court ruling will mean for this particular policy and whether that will result in changes to avoid landlords potentially discriminating against would-be tenants from outside the UK. Regardless, clearer guidance would be beneficial to allay any concerns.”

RLA research suggested that around a fifth of landlords are less likely to rent to nationals from the EU or the EEA as a result of Right to Rent – a figure which could increase post-Brexit.

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