Efforts to clamp down on illegal immigration could backfire and leave vulnerable groups struggling to find suitable accommodation
Changes to renting laws across the UK have forced landlords to act as a type of immigration officer on behalf of the government, arguably helping to fuel housing discrimination. The Right to Rent scheme, implemented in 2016, means landlords face stiff penalties if they are caught housing illegal immigrants. This means that landlords must carry out stringent checks on each potential tenant before granting them residency. To avoid the workload and potential penalties of housing illegal immigrants, many landlords are not renting their properties to migrants or descendants of migrants, making it harder to find accommodation for these groups.
The Right to Rent scheme came into effect across the country in February 2016, after being tried out in the West Midlands in December 2014. It was part of the larger Immigration Act 2014. In theory, it is designed to catch ‘over-stayers’ and other illegal immigrants, with landlords facing a penalty of £3,000 per tenant if they are caught housing them in their properties.