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.”
- The Home Office assessment of the impact of its Right to Rent scheme in the West Midlands pilot area can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/468955/horr84.pdf. Page 25 reads:
- “There was some limited evidence emerging from the focus groups that illegal migrants’ access to the private rental sector in the phase one area was being restricted.”
- 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