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Right to Rent must be scrapped new report urges

Thursday 16 February 2017

​Evidence from a report suggests that the Right to Rent scheme has backfired and the scheme itself has lead to landlords and agents becoming more cautious towards would-be tenants without passports.

The new report has sparked calls for an inquiry into the scheme, as well as moves to scrap it. 

Foreigners and British citizens without passports, particularly those from ethnic minorities, are being discriminated against in the private rental housing market as a result of the government-backed initiative, claims the ‘Passport Please’ report by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI).
The report  surveyed landlords and carried out a mystery shopping exercise to scrutinise how the Right to Rent scheme works in practise since its introduction in October 2015.
A massive 51 per cent of landlords and agents said they were now less likely to consider letting to foreign nationals from outside the EU, while 18 per cent were less likely to rent to EU nationals as well.
And a mystery shopping exercise found that where neither a white British tenant nor a black or ethnic minority (BME) British tenant had a passport, the BME tenant was 14 per cent more likely to be turned away or ignored.
Saira Grant, chief executive of JCWI, said: “We have been warning for some time that the Right to Rent scheme is failing on all fronts.
“It treats many groups who need housing unfairly, it is clearly discriminatory, it is putting landlords in an impossible position, and there is no evidence that it is doing anything to tackle irregular immigration.
“Creating a so-called ‘hostile environment’ that targets vulnerable men, women and children is bad enough, implementing a scheme that traps and discriminates against British citizens is absurd.
“Expanding the scheme to devolved nations without taking into account the discrimination it causes would be misguided and unjustifiable. It is time to stop the scheme before it does any more damage.”
JCWI’s mystery shopping exercise found no evidence of ethnicity discrimination where a non BME and a BME British citizen both held passports – suggesting that the discrimination arises from the scheme itself.

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