A new government report compiled by Home Office has highlighted instances of racial prejudice when processing tenants.
The report, entitled “Research with landlords, letting agents and tenants (part of the Right to Rent evaluation)” documented instances where private landlords have actively instructed their letting agents not to allow “any foreigners” as a result of the Right to Rent checks.
The increase in discrimination may be due to financial reasons, following the latest government incentive which effectively forces landlords to verify the migration status of renters or risk receiving a fine of up to £3,000 per tenant.
The Home Office report alarmingly said “[Letting agents] reported that they had landlords who had instructed them not to let to non-European Economic Area (EEA) applicants or to ‘any foreigners’.”
The research was taken from an online survey of 114 West Midlands landlords, a separate survey of 68 tenants and 10 focus groups, that consisted of tenants landlords and letting agents.
At one point, the report said “One example of this [discrimination] was a letting agent who, in a focus group, expressed the view that ‘if the applicants were white and had a ‘Brummie’ accent, they didn’t need to put them through the [Right to Rent] process.”
Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire commented “Right to Rent checks are quick and simple, and many responsible landlords already do them as a matter of routine. We are providing landlords in England with all the advice and support they need before the checks go live on 1 February 2016.”
Social landlords are required to partake in the right to rent scheme, however tenancies from housing waiting lists are exempt as local authorities are expected to have already done all of the necessary immigration checks.