Rent Checks Post-Brexit

Uncertainty around Brexit continues even up to the last minute – and the possibility of a no-deal – means it is still very difficult to predict what will happen when the UK leaves the EU.

The Government is yet to release official guidance on what letting agents and Landlords will need to do, should a no-deal Brexit be the outcome of the process. The lack of clarity from the Government has already caused problems, as a number of landlords are already averse to letting their properties to non-UK nationals due to the risk of being found in breach of the Right-to-Rent rules post-Brexit. The Government is under increased pressure to give clear guidance on post-Brexit Right-to-Work and Right-to-Rent checks.

 

What do we know so far?

Right to Rent is creating a hostile environment in the private rented sector with more landlords refusing to consider renting to non-British nationals, including EU citizens.

Some 44% of private rented sector landlords are less likely to rent to those without a British passport, up from 42% a year ago, according to research from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA). The research also found that landlords are reluctant to rent to European Union citizens due to concerns about Brexit.

The Right to Rent scheme, which was introduced in 2016, has never been popular as it requires landlords to carry out immigration checks to make sure that they do not rent a property to someone who does not have the right to live in the UK.

Currently, it means that landlords are responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants with the prospect of prosecution if they know or have ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the property they are letting is occupied by someone who does not have the right to rent in the UK.

 

Potential changes

One change which may be implemented post-Brexit is the introduction of a digital checking service.

A white paper in December (“The UK’s future skills-based immigration system”, HM Government) suggested this would enable prospective tenants to view and ‘verify’ their immigration status, meaning landlords could confirm the applicant’s eligibility to rent far more quickly. This would mean that those renting to foreign nationals from the EU would no longer need to manually check the documents which are currently required under the right to rent legislation.

 

Summary

There’s no denying that both landlords and EU tenants have many unanswered questions when it comes to Brexit and right to rent legislation, largely down to the fact that a deal has not yet been decided upon. The 29th March 2019 should hopefully bring a clearer picture and provide the answers both parties really need.

 

Let us know if you would like to find out more

If you have any further questions or interest in implementing a digital checking service in advance, please do get in contact.

 

Nick Beaton
Head of Business Development
T: +44 020 7868 1575
M: +44 07540 814943
E: nick.beaton@CRIGroup.com