The Right to Rent sounds a bit like the Right to Buy, but it might be having the opposite effect. The Right to Rent was in the 2014 Immigration Act and is being piloted in a few areas in the north of the UK.
It requires landlords (or their agents) to check whether the individual has a right to be in the country and, therefore, to be allowed to rent. An existing requirement is placed on employers who have to make similar checks.
Pilots that started in December 2014 end at the end of May 2015. There was a commitment given that the effects would be analysed before being rolled out across the UK. But it appears that the national rollout will happen regardless of any appraisal. (I hope someone will be able to tell me I am wrong about this).
There is some evidence that in the pilot areas agencies have increased fees by £100 to do the ‘Right to Rent’ checks.
If people don’t have the right documentation readily available, they are overlooked by someone that does, and it is being suggested that there is some examples of discrimination if someone doesn’t have an ‘English’ sounding name or a ‘foreign’ accent.
My fear is that BHT clients already face still competition to find affordable private rented. If they have to provide necessary documentation and possibly find another £100 on top of fees that are already crippling, some will be unable to manage it adding to the length of their homelessness and for others resulting in homelessness.
I understand the political pressure that politicians are under regarding immigration, but this seems to be passing on responsibility for policing, even border control, to private landlords, with the cost being passed on to tenants who are already struggling to make ends meet.
It needs a bit more thought and evaluation before it is rolled out further.