EU nationals who rent in the UK may encounter difficulties after Brexit, with the government having failed to issue any clear guidance to landlords. With two-thirds of people from the EU who live in the UK renting, this puts a substantial number of people at risk of unfair discrimination.
Under the Right To Rent scheme, landlords are legally obliged to check that all their tenants (even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement) have the right to rent property in the UK. The scheme was ruled to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights by a High Court judge last month, although it remains unclear whether this will lead to any practical changes, including the scrapping of the requirement for landlords to check their tenants' immigration status.
This adds to the limbo in which EU nationals in the UK currently find themselves; one in five UK landlords already admitted that they would likely not let their property to an EU national, just to avoid confusion, according to data from the Residential Landlords Association. This number is likely to increase if clear guidelines are not provided to landlords, and soon.
David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA, said:
'Landlords are not border police and cannot be expected to know who does and who does not have the right to live here.'
'The Government needs to publish clear and practical guidance for landlords about the implications of Brexit on who they can and cannot rent to. If they do not, more landlords will become increasingly fearful about renting to non-UK nationals with the potential of facing prosecution.'
'The result will be they will avoid renting to anyone who is not a UK national making life difficult for EU nationals.'