Industry news

Landlords group backs legal challenge to Right to Rent

policy under which landlords are responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants. At present landlords face the prospect of


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. The RLA is supporting the Joint Council for the

Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) in calling for a Judicial Review, on the basis the policy discriminates against foreign nationals. The group is also supporting a similar case being brought by the Camden Community Law Centre. The fear of criminal sanctions has made many

landlords reluctant about renting to non-UK nationals out of fear of being duped by forged documents. Research by the RLA, which is being used to

support both cases has found 47 per cent of landlords are less likely to consider letting to foreign nationals from outside the EU as a result of the scheme. The same RLA research found that 42 per cent of

landlords were less likely to rent to someone without a British passport as a result of the scheme because of the threat of criminal sanctions. This poses serious difficulties for the 17 per cent of UK residents who do not have a passport.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES Despite requests, the Home Office has refused to

he Residential Landlords Association is backing a legal bid to overturn the Government’s Right to Rent immigration

The fear of criminal sanctions has made many landlords reluctant about renting to non-UK nationals out of fear of being duped by forged documents

publish a database of what all acceptable forms of identification for the scheme look like, arguing that there are simply too many from different countries around the world. A recent BBC investigation found that criminal

gangs are helping undocumented immigrants to flout the law by selling them fake identity documents. Last October the Chief Inspector of Borders and

Immigration announced a new review of the Right to Rent, but warned that this “will not examine any unintended consequences of Right to Rent, for example discrimination against would-be tenants, increased homelessness, or displacement.” This is because, it said, it “does not have the capacity to conduct a meaningful examination of the

New licensing scheme for Nottingham’s PRS to deliver better standards

Private sector tenants in Nottingham will benefit from better quality accommodation and greater protection from rogue landlords later this year after the Government approved a new licensing scheme for the city. The new scheme covers more than 31,000

privately rented homes making it the largest licensing outside of London to be given approval by the Secretary of State. A report by the Building Research Establishment

Group estimated that 21 per cent of Nottingham’s PRS properties are likely to have ‘Category 1 hazards’. Examples of this type of hazard include exposed wiring, a dangerous boiler, cold bedrooms, a leaking roof, mould on walls or ceilings and vermin infestation. Selective Licensing will help ensure these issues are addressed. In selected areas of the city, landlords will need to

obtain a licence and meet certain obligations to ensure tenant safety and good management of their property. The cost of a licence is still to be confirmed but is likely to be less than £2 per week, per property for accredited landlords and no more than £3 a week for non-accredited landlords. Money raised will help to cover the scheme’s costs. Good landlords who go above the legal

minimum and those who are members of the Nottingham Standard accreditation scheme (DASH and Unipol) will receive a discount on the licence application fee. The council hopes to introduce the scheme from

this summer. Between now and then, landlords should find out if it will affect them and what they should do to prepare for this. Landlords can find out if their property is covered by the scheme at

unintended consequences of Right to Rent at this time.” RLA Policy Director, David Smith, said: “When

this policy was first discussed we warned the Government of the unintended consequences of the Right to Rent scheme. How can a landlord be expected to know what every passport in every country is supposed to look like? “For the overwhelming majority of landlords it

makes no commercial sense to limit their access to a large proportion of the prospective tenant market. It is the fear of criminal sanctions for getting it wrong which is causing many simply to want to play it safe. Landlords should not be used as scapegoats for the failures of the border agencies. It is time to suspend this controversial and unwelcome policy.”

There is also a link to more information including a list of FAQs and a good practice guide. Councillor Jane Urquhart, the City Council’s

Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing & Heritage, said: “I’m pleased that Nottingham’s selective licensing proposal has been approved by the Government. In areas that are covered it will help to improve standards for private tenants and landlords will know exactly what they must do to be able to rent their properties out. “Having a Selective License allows landlords to

demonstrate that they provide good accommodation for tenants. The cost of licensing will be reduced for responsible landlords who gain Nottingham Standard Accreditation. Tenants will also be able to check on both licensing and accreditation which will help to drive up private rented standards. This is a major step forward in improving living standards for many city residents.” Accredited landlords can use the Nottingham

Standard accreditation mark to show they adhere to the standards required There is information about the standard at dard | HMM March 2018 | 15

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