Sympathetic landlords are needed
The sick new immigration act is already affecting people in Brighton. We have been approached by a lovely couple who are struggling to find a landlord who will rent accommodation because their leave to remain will expire in four months. They should, if there is any justice in this country, be able to renew that leave. It is also unlawful to refuse them a tenancy agreement on those grounds. Unsurprisingly, landlords do not understand the law or want the hassle of tenancies which require extra work just so that they can avoid going to prison.
One half of the lovely couple has mobility problems and is in receipt of PIP. The household has a low income and is in receipt of housing benefit. They are looking for a property for £630 a month or less that does not have too many steps. If you know of a property or you have one, do please let us know, firstname.lastname@example.org
In case other people our struggling with the same issue, we wrote this letter:
RE: Indefinite Leave to Remain and the Right to Rent
To whom it may concern,
Section 39 of the Immigration Act 2016 makes it a criminal offence to lease premises to a person who is “disqualified as a result of their immigration status from occupying premises under a residential tenancy agreement” where the landlord or agent knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the tenant is so disqualified. A person who is so disqualified is a person who lacks the “right to rent”.
For a landlord or agent to show that they did not have reasonable cause to believe that the tenant lacked the right to rent, the landlord or their agent is required to perform a “right to rent check”.
There is no provision that prevents landlords from entering into tenancy agreements with a person who has temporary leave to enter or remain unless that leave is subject to a condition preventing that person from occupying premises. However, in such a case the landlord or agent must make periodic follow-up right to rent checks.
If the initial right to rent check reveals that the tenant has a form of temporary leave to enter or remain, the landlord is expected to perform a follow up check before the date at which the leave is due to expire. If the follow up check reveals that the tenant no longer has the right to rent, the Home Office must be notified although the landlord is entitled to continue collecting rent. This is detailed in Section 5 of the Home Office’s ‘Right to Rent Code of Practice’ which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/525897/Right_to_Rent_Code_of_Practice_Feb_2016_as_passed_through_parliament_v1_0.pdf
Part 2 of chapter 2 and part 4 of the equality act 2010 make it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds of race. Race includes nationality. To refuse to enter into a tenancy agreement with someone who has the right to rent because of their immigration status constitutes discrimination on the grounds of race. This is also the case if the right to rent it is time limited. The Home Office’s “Code of Practice for Landlords: Avoiding unlawful discrimination when conducting ‘right to rent’ checks in the private rented residential sector” makes this clear:
Prospective tenants should not be treated less favourably if they produce acceptable documents showing a time-limited right to stay in the UK. Once a person who has time-limited permission to stay in the UK has established their initial and on-going entitlement to stay, they should not be treated less favourably than others even if further right to rent checks are subsequently required, as prescribed by the Scheme and set out in the [general] Code of Practice.
[NAME] are both able to establish their ongoing right to rent. To refuse to enter a tenancy agreement with them on those grounds would be discriminatory. You would be liable to prosecution.
If you need any more information, please feel free to contact me at the above addresses and please note that this does not constitute legal advice.
You can download it here: Right to Rent letter,generic