The Government is reviewing its guidelines on the Right to Rent scheme, after confusion was raised in the House of Lords.
The Right to Rent scheme requires landlords or their letting agents to conduct immigration status checks on all prospective tenants, ensuring that the renter has the right to live in the UK. Research from the Residential Landlords Association has found that a huge 72% of landlords do not understand their legal obligations under the scheme.
Government Plans to Update Right to Rent Guidelines
However, the complexities of the law, part of the Immigration Act 2014, have now been brought up in the House of Lords, as the Immigration Bill works its way through Parliament.
During the discussion, it was revealed that migrants who should not be in the UK may be given permission to rent, despite being prohibited from living here.
Labour peer Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked whether the Home Office would provide guidance to migrants who did not know whether they have a right to rent.
The spokesperson for the Home Office, Lord Keen of Elie, responded: “Under the Right to Rent scheme, landlords must check the immigration status of those renting to ensure they are here legally. Where a migrant’s documents are with the Home Office, landlords can confirm the right to rent through the Landlords Checking Service using the migrant’s case reference number.
“In some limited circumstances, such as where there are genuine obstacles to them leaving, migrants here without leave may be afforded permission to rent, although disqualified from renting.”
He added: “Where a migrant is unsure as to whether they qualify for permission to rent, they may contact the case owner, or team that is dealing with their case, or ask when they attend the Home Office in compliance with reporting conditions.”1
He also explained that the current guidance will be updated to help migrants make inquiries into their right to rent.
There has already been much confusion over the scheme, notably one case that could weaken Right to Rent legislation: /court-case-weaken-right-rent/
However, the Government has confirmed that changes will be introduced in the Immigration Bill to protect good landlords from penalties.
We will continue to provide you with updates on changes to landlord law.