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“Limited evidence” proves need to think again on migrant rental checks

RLA
Written by RLA

Government efforts to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to access rented housing have been left in tatters following the publication of a new report today. In December 2014 landlords in the West Midlands were chosen to pilot the Government’s ‘Right to Rent’ scheme which made them legally required to check the immigration status of their tenants…

Government efforts to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to access rented housing have been left in tatters following the publication of a new report today.

In December 2014 landlords in the West Midlands were chosen to pilot the Government’s ‘Right to Rent’ scheme which made them legally required to check the immigration status of their tenants.

With the Home Office today confirming that the scheme will be rolled out across England from the 1st February next year, its analysis of the pilot scheme has undermined the central purpose of the policy.

The assessment notes that there is only “limited evidence” from the pilot scheme area “that illegal migrants’ access to the private rental sector…was being restricted.”

The findings show also that of those landlords in the West Midlands who had carried out Right to Rent checks, the proportion that now always request photo identification of tenants has increased from fifty one per cent to eighty one per cent.

This confirms the Residential Landlord Association’s long held fear that those, mostly vulnerable UK nationals, without any form of photo identification will find it close to impossible to access rental housing. According to the 2011 Census, around twelve million UK nationals do not have a passport.

As he prepared to give evidence today to MPs considering the Immigration Bill, RLA Policy Director, David Smith said:

“The Government has long argued that its Right to Rent scheme is about making it more difficult for illegal immigrants to settle in the UK.

“Today’s Home Office assessment of its own pilot scheme blows a hole through this. Rolling out a policy based on only limited evidence that it works cannot be right.

“The report also highlights the very real danger of legitimate UK nationals being unable to access housing because they do not have photo ID.

“It is premature to be announcing the date that the scheme will roll out across England without first giving enough time to consider in full the findings of this report.”

Click here to read the RLA’s briefing paper on the Immigration Bill

Further Information
  • RLA Policy Director, David Smith will give oral evidence to the House of Commons committee scrutinising the Immigration Bill at 3pm. Click here for more information

 

About the author

RLA

RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

7 Comments

  • Does the government really think that illegal immigrants go to letting agents or private landlords to obtain accommodation ? If they are recent arrivals most probably they will not have any money and will be housed by relatives / friends within their own ethnic communities. Therefore the concept of “renting” will not apply. If they are established here then they will know the system and therefore remain within their own communities without any formal rental agreements.

  • We do already require photo evidence of identity…. and have done for some time,
    and we expect our tenants to have it,
    We do rent to many non UK nationals, and have good experiences with them, but we do expect that our prospective tenants can confirm their identity – from any ethnic background. We see it as common sense.

  • My brother in law, born and bred in Merseyside with a family tree of UK residence back to Elizabethan times, has no photo ID. Fortunately he owns his house. How would he fare if he had to rent? He recently had great difficulty getting a solicitor to act for him due to their “know your client” requirements of which photo ID appears to be the main crutch. With most of us doing banking and utilities via the internet there is not even the offical proof of address that everyone wants.

    Mt accountant for the last 20 years now keeps on asking me for photo ID and utility bills every few years to meet his professional obligations to prove I am still who I was.

    In the meantime if they are illegal immigrants how would they get past the standard credit reference checks or afford the deposit from most proper landlords?

    It’s all a farce to make it look as if they are doing something.

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