Uncertainty around Brexit continues, and the possibility of a no-deal means it is still challenging to predict what will happen when the UK leaves the EU. The Government is yet to release official guidance on what letting agents and Landlords will need to do, should a no-deal Brexit be the outcome of the process. The lack of clarity from the Government has already caused problems. Many landlords are averse to letting their properties to non-UK nationals in case they are in breach of the Right to Rent rules, post-Brexit. The Government is under increased pressure to give clear guidance on post-Brexit Right to Work and Right to Rent checks.
What do we know so far?
Right to Rent is creating a hostile environment in the private rented sector with more landlords refusing to consider renting to non-British nationals, including EU citizens, due to concerns about Brexit. According to research from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), 44% of private rented sector landlords are less likely to rent to those without a British passport.
The Right to Rent scheme – introduced in 2016 – has never been popular as it requires landlords to carry out immigration checks to make sure that they do not rent a property to someone who does not have the right to live in the UK. Furthermore, landlords face prosecution if they know or have ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the property they are letting is occupied by someone who does not have the right to rent in the UK.
Potential changes post-Brexit
One change which may be implemented post-Brexit is the introduction of a digital checking service. A white paper in December last year* suggested this would enable prospective tenants to view and ‘verify’ their immigration status. Meaning landlords could confirm the applicant’s eligibility to rent far more quickly. Those renting to foreign nationals from the EU would no longer need to manually check the documents which are currently required under the right to rent legislation.
There’s no denying that both landlords and EU tenants have many unanswered questions when it comes to Brexit and right to rent legislation, mainly down to the fact that a deal has not yet been decided. The 31st October 2019 should hopefully bring a clearer picture and provide the answers both parties need.
Let us know if you would like to find out more. If you have any further questions or interest in implementing a digital checking service in advance, please do get in contact.
*”The UK’s future skills-based immigration system”, by HM Government