Scottish roll-out of Right to Rent checks ‘imminent’
The roll-out of the UK government’s Right to Rent scheme into Scotland and other devolved parts of the UK is “imminent”, according to new report which found it is leading to discrimination against foreign nationals and Britons from ethnic minorities.
The scheme requires landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants and makes it a criminal offence for landlords and agents to let properties to anyone without official permission to be in the UK.
Those found to have broken the rules face up to five years imprisonment or fines as high as £3000.
When it was first raised as part of efforts to drive down net migration, concerns emerged about whether or not landlords were qualified to check immigration paperwork and of the consequences for minority communities.
Now, one year after its introduction across England, a report into the impact of the law by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has revealed it has caused discrimination against the UK’s minority communities.
A Home Office spokesman said the scheme is working and confirmed that moves to extend the rules across the UK’s internal borders are under way: “The Right to Rent scheme deters people from staying in the UK when they have no right to do so.
“Landlords and agents are routinely conducting checks and we are taking action where illegal migrants are found to be renting property.
“We have found no evidence the scheme itself causes discrimination and it is incorrect to say that we are not monitoring the scheme.”
The statement added: “We are currently engaging with the devolved administrations on extending the Right to Rent scheme to the rest of the UK.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson responded: “We have made clear to UK ministers that we have serious concerns about their Right to Rent scheme and the Housing Minister recently wrote to the UK government again for clarification on how they see this scheme working in Scotland.
“Discrimination in any form has no place in Scotland and we share the views of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants that the Right to Rent scheme may lead to landlords operating in a discriminatory way, marginalising vulnerable migrants and placing additional pressures on local authorities.”