17% of UK residents who do not have a passport yet 43% of private landlords said they were less likely to rent to people who cannot produce a British passport
Two-thirds of private landlords said they were also less likely to rent to migrants who are legally in Britain, but only have permission to stay for a limited period. More than half said they were less likely to rent to someone from outside Europe. The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford has reported that foreign-born residents were almost three times more likely than Britons to live in the private rented sector.
Landlords who fail to check that potential tenants have the right to be in Britain face a fine of up to £3,000. From next month, landlords who knowingly rent to people without permission to be in the UK will face a prison sentence. Two-thirds of those polled said they were worried they would make a mistake or be caught out by forged documents, and be unfairly fined. So they are erring on the side of caution.
The Residential Landlords Association’s, Dave Smith, policy director, explained, “These survey findings confirm our fears. Those who cannot easily prove their right to live in the UK, whether they are British or not, are finding it harder to access homes to rent. This is particularly concerning for those UK nationals without a passport, many of them the most vulnerable in society. Landlords are quite reasonably becoming ultra-cautious to avoid tough criminal sanctions and need reassurance that they will not be punished when they get fooled by false documents. They are not trained immigration officers.”