UK’s ‘Right to Rent’ Scheme Faces Opposition from Landlords

Several property landlords in the U.K. want the government to reverse its Right to Rent scheme, as the policy forces them to act as enforcers of immigration rules.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) said that property owners should not be obligated for checking a tenant’s immigration status, which should ideally fall under the responsibility of border agencies.

Additional Costs

Added costs serve as another concern for property owners since the rules impose corresponding penalties to landlords who fail to observe the scheme.

According to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants’ (JCWI) research, 51 percent of landlords have been hesitant to accept foreign tenants out of fear that they may violate the policy. Their hesitation also stems from the prevalence of foreigners that use fake immigration documents.

Property owners face potential criminal sanctions for renting their property to a non-documented foreigner, aside from penalties. These problems only add to other concerns such as recovering rental payments, although court bailiff services can be a solution to the latter.

Tenant Rights

The U.K. government decided to implement the scheme to force “irregular migrants to leave the country by making them homeless,” according to the JCWI. However, it remains unclear of how that will happen due to lack of evidence.

JCWI’s research also showed that the rule had affected even British renters themselves. Almost 50 percent of landlords are now more likely to reject those without a passport. Around 17 percent of people have no passports even if they are U.K. citizens.

The JCWI believes that this not only makes it hard for locals to find shelter but also violates their human rights.

The RLA and JWCI comprise some of the groups that want the government to reconsider its Right to Rent policy, due to many negative implications. What is your opinion on this scheme?