UK: Brexit making access to rented housing more difficult for EU nationals

EU-flagsAlmost a fifth of landlords in England and Wales are now less likely to rent to nationals from the European Union or the European Economic Area as a result of the immigration checks they are now expected to make, a study has found.

A survey due to be published by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has blamed confusion over how landlords will be expected to identify which EU nationals will and won’t be able to reside in the UK after Brexit for the growing caution among landlords.

Under the UK government’s Right to Rent scheme landlords are legally responsible for ensuring their tenants have a right to rent property in the UK.

Right to Rent was introduced in England in February 2016 and with the roll-out into Scotland and other devolved parts of the UK described as “imminent” earlier this year.

Landlords say having to check tenants’ immigration status places an excessive burden on them, and that they fear being heavily fined or imprisoned for up to five years if they fail to comply with the regulations.

As a result, EU citizens are seeing their access to rented homes significantly restricted. Seventeen per cent of landlords now say they are less likely to rent to EU nationals.

David Smith, policy director at the Residential Landlords Association, said: “The Government is leaving landlords and EU nationals in a state of legal limbo over their housing.

“Ministers need to urgently set out the steps that will be taken to enable landlords to easily identify which EU nationals will and won’t have the right to rent.

“Without this, and faced with the threat of prosecution for getting things wrong, landlords will only become even more cautious about renting to EU nationals.”