Comments by Sanwar Ali:
This scheme puts an unnecessary burden on landlords. It seems to be part of the harsh “hostile environment” policy. Its understandable that many people wish to see this system scrapped.
The Home Office has confirmed that UK visa ‘Right to Rent’ rules will change on 2 November. Several changes are expected, including the introduction of a new online system that will enable letting agents and landlords to check that applicants have the right to rent in the UK.
The ‘Right to Rent’ to scheme has been viewed as highly controversial, with the Home Office accused of turning letting agents and landlords into UK immigration agents. Meanwhile, many landlords have reportedly used the scheme to discriminate against non-UK applicants. In March 2019, the UK High Court ruled that ‘Right to Rent’ checks violated human rights.
Landlords and letting agents failing to conform with the controversial checks face heavy fines and even prison time of up to five years should they rent out property to anyone who does not have the right to rent.
It’s understood that there will also be some new rules for B5JSSK nationals – meaning people from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA. B5JSSK nationals holding a passport for any of these countries and a document showing arrival into the UK within the last six months, such as a boarding pass, have a right to rent.
B5JSSK nationals can also obtain approval from the Landlord Checking Service. B5JSSK nationals are given the right to rent for up to one-year, even though they only get a visa that’s valid for six months by right.
Minor changes to right to rent scheme
It’s understood that the changes will be relatively minor to make it easier for certain people. However, the rules will still put landlords in the position of playing UK immigration agents and reporting tenants to the Home Office.
While the changes are expected to be minor in November, there’s likely to be more radical changes to the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme in 2021, once Britain’s new post-Brexit, points-based immigration system comes into effect.
Landlords and letting agents are now being urged to review the rule changes for November and monitor changes that are expected to come into effect from next year.
Amid the coronavirus, ‘Right to Rent’ rules have been eased, which landlords and letting agents should be aware of, according to property industry specialists. Rules were changed in order to reduce evictions and stop the spread of the virus by making people homeless.
With Britain in the grip of a second wave, it remains to be seen how the November changes will affect people.
The controversial ‘Right to Rent scheme was first trialled in the West Midlands, requiring landlords to carry out immigration status checks on prospective tenants, for example seeing a passport or UK visa.
The scheme forms part of the government’s “hostile environment” policy and was introduced under the 2014 Immigration Act to target illegal immigrants in the UK.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has long fought to get the scheme scrapped, describing it as ‘race discrimination against those who are perfectly entitled to rent.’
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