New guidance from the government on the Right to Rent scheme has been deemed a “new low” by the Residential Landlords Association.
According to the RLA, if landlords were to follow this new guidance they would be in breach of the law.
The change in guidance says that individuals from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States, who plan on staying in the UK for six months, now only need to present their passport and airline ticket as proof they can rent a property.
The code of practice agreed by parliament requires B5JSSK nationals to provide clear evidence that they have the right to rent in the UK.
While the guidance has no legal standing, the RLA argues that “a simple airline ticket with a passport does not meet this threshold.” The body is calling for changes to the code of practice by parliament.
Furthermore, the RLA has written to the home secretary calling for the Right to Rent scheme to be scrapped altogether, following a court judgement that it causes racial discrimination that otherwise would not happen.
As the policy currently stands, a landlord faces up to five years in prison if they have reasonable cause to believe they are renting to someone who does not have the right to rent in the UK.
Theresa May when she was home secretary introduced the policy as part of the home office’s hostile environment for immigrants.
Residential Landlords Association policy director David Smith says: “This represents a new low in the sorry saga of the Right to Rent.
“Having already been ruled to be discriminatory by the high court, the government is now putting out guidance which could leave landlords open to prosecution.
“It reinforces once against that the Right to Rent policy needs to go and go now.”
Conor Kavanagh says that efforts to clamp down on illegal immigration could backfire and leave vulnerable groups struggling to find suitable accommodation.
He adds that changes to renting laws have forced landlords to act as immigration officers on the behalf of the government.