The RLA wants the Home Office to provide hard copy documents to EU citizens proving their status in the UK post-Brexit.
The association has joined forces with campaign group ‘the3million’, to write to Home Secretary Sajid Javid asking for the documentation, and clarification of their legal position post-Brexit.
According to the English Housing Survey, around 66% of EU citizens (excluding those from the Republic of Ireland) live in private rented housing.
Section 21 (5) of the Immigration Act 2014 provides all nationals of the European Economic Area with the right to rent property in the UK indefinitely.
Without being changed, this will be the case under any kind of Brexit, and will apply to EU citizens currently living in the UK and those who might come following the UK’s departure from the EU.
The Home Office has proposed to give digital codes to EU citizens currently in the UK whose rights will be protected.
Under their plans this code will be passed by the tenant to a landlord who would need to input the code into a Home Office website enabling them to confirm the potential tenant’s immigration status.
The RLA believes this could cause problems, with research from RLA PEARL showing landlords are already reluctant to rent to those who cannot easily prove their status with a document such as a passport.
The letter was signed by RLA policy director, David Smith and Nicolas Hatton, chief executive of the3million, a grassroots movement set up to give a voice to the three million EU citizens living in the UK.
It reads: “Without issuing a clear and understandable hard copy document to those whose rights would be protected, there is a very real danger of a repeat of the difficulties caused for many in the Windrush generation who were in the country legally but unable to easily prove it.
“Such a document must be issued now so that, as tenancies come up for renewal between now and next March, landlords can be confident that they can continue to let to EU citizens, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”
It continues: “Without issuing a clear and understandable hard copy document to those whose rights would be protected, there is a very real danger of a repeat of the difficulties caused for many in the Windrush Generation who were in the country legally but unable to easily prove it.
“Such a document must be issued now so that, as tenancies come up for renewal between now and next March, landlords can be confident that they can continue to let to EU citizens, even in the event of a no deal Brexit.”
The letter, which has also been forwarded to other senior politicians including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, immigration minister Caroline Nokes and housing minister Kit Malthouse MP also includes the questions:
- In the event of a no deal Brexit, without a transition period, what would be the status of an EU citizen who came to the country now? Would they have to leave by the end of March? Without urgent clarity landlords will not know whether or not they are able to rent a property to them with the expectation that they will be able to see out a tenancy.
- In the event of a transition period being agreed from the end of March, and in light of the Government suggesting it might legislate for three-year tenancies in the sector, would landlords be required to offer three year tenancies, or would they only be obligated to offer them until the end of a transition period?
It goes on to request an urgent meeting. To read the letter in full click here.