The vast majority of landlords have not received any information from the Government about the new Right to Rent scheme which was rolled out across England this week, new research shows.
From Monday 1st February 2016 it became compulsory for all private landlords in England to check that new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property.
Under the new rules, landlords, including those who sub-let or take in lodgers, who fail to check a potential tenant’s ‘Right to Rent’ will face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant.
But Right to Rent, which was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 as part of the Government’s reforms ‘to build a fairer and more effective immigration system’, has been criticised after it was revealed that most landlords are still not prepared for the new legislation.
“There has been an influx of new legislation relating to the rental market made in recent years and we know that UK landlords are struggling to keep on top of these changes. Despite knowing many of the basics, many find it difficult to navigate the minefield of changing renting rights and wrongs and this is particularly so for accidental landlords,” said Adam Male (left), Co-Founder, Urban.
A new survey from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) reveals that 90 per cent of landlords have received no information from the Government about the new Right to Rent scheme, the first phase of which was launched in parts of the West Midlands in December, while almost three quarters of the 1,500 landlords surveyed did not know what the rules obliged them to do.
“Outsourcing border patrol to landlords is like asking passengers to drive trains – a foolish and senseless example of delegation,” said Matt Hutchinson, Director of flatshare site, SpareRoom.co.uk.
Hutchinson (above) believes that many landlords may now seek to avoid the risk altogether by simply letting to people with UK passports.
He added, “This could lead to cut and dry examples of discrimination as landlords look for ways to simplify the vetting process – which also requires follow up checks – by reconsidering who they are inclined to let to.”
Despite the opposition, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire insists that Right to Rent checks are “quick and simple” and many responsible landlords already do them as a matter of routine.
He commented, “Right to Rent is about deterring those who are illegally resident from remaining in the UK. Those with a legitimate right to be here will be able to prove this easily and will not be adversely affected.
“Under Right to Rent, landlords should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies. The scheme has been designed to make it straightforward for people to give evidence of their right to rent and a range of commonly available documents can be used.”