A new report on the impact of the Right to Rent checks on migrants and ethnic minorities in England 'Passport Please' finds that foreigners and British citizens without passports, particularly those from ethnic minorities, are being discriminated against in the private rental housing market.
The report, by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants examines the impact of the 'right to rent' scheme a year on from its nationwide roll-out in England. The scheme requires landlords and agents to check the immigration status of all prospective tenants and refuse a tenancy to irregular migrants. If they fail to fully comply with the scheme they face a fine of up to £3,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years. The report builds on JCWI's independent evaluation published in 2015.
The research found that:
51% of landlords surveyed said that the scheme would make them less likely to consider letting to foreign nationals.
42% of landlords stated that they were less likely to rent to someone without a British passport as a result of the scheme. This rose to 48% when explicitly asked to consider the impact of the criminal sanction.
An enquiry from a British Black Minority Ethnic (BME) tenant without a passport was ignored or turned down by 58% of landlords, in a mystery shopping exercise.
In addition, the report found that the Government is failing to adequately monitor the scheme to measure whether or not it is working as intended, or whether it is causing discrimination, enforcement under the scheme is low and there is no evidence to suggest that the scheme is encouraging irregular migrants to leave the UK.