London firm Chestertons tells LandordZONE that the system is causing major problems for agents, landlords and tenants and should be enforced by the government, not private citizens.
A leading letting agency has called for major reform of the contentious Right to Rent scheme.
Guy Gittins, managing director of global firm Chestertons believes the Government – not landlords – should be responsible for checking would-be tenants’ immigration status.
Says Gittins: “We would like to see the responsibility for Right to Rents checks – the cost of which is also passed on to tenants in the form of higher rent – removed from landlords and their managing agents and handed over to the Home Office.”
Richard Davies, Chestertons’ head of lettings, tells LandlordZONE that Right to Rent can cause issues for new tenancies, especially when two tenants arrive at different times and only one of them is present for the start date of the tenancy.
“Additional paperwork needs to be actioned to accommodate such scenarios,” he says. “This is something that we often see, on a weekly basis.”
He adds that last summer, nationals arriving from the USA or Australia didn’t receive a stamp in their passport on arrival, and entry was held digitally, however, agents were still checking for stamps. “It took a whole month for us to be informed by the Home Office about the change.”
Currently, any landlord found to have rented to someone who doesn’t have the required immigration status will face a fine of up to £3,000 or a criminal sentence.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) believes the Right to Rent scheme should be scrapped immediately.
“This sort of discrimination is caused by the government’s decision to turn private individuals, including landlords…into border guards,” Chai Patel, legal policy director, tells LandlordZONE.
“It’s wrong that private individuals are being conscripted into immigration enforcement in this way, and we welcome all those who join the campaign for the ‘hostile environment’ to be scrapped.”
Last year, it bought a case against the Home Office in the High Court, which agreed that Right to Rent causes racial discrimination. As a result, the Government was forced to halt its plans to roll the scheme out to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. After the Government appealed, it’s now waiting to hear whether the Court of Appeal will rule in its favour.