Windrush generation: new Right to Rent rules issued by government

Windrush generation: new Right to Rent rules issued by government

Landlords have been provided with new guidance on how Right to Rent checks apply to long-term UK residents who are Commonwealth citizens, after revelations over the past couple of weeks that thousands have been wrongly facing deportation.

Long-term residents of the UK who do not have documents to demonstrate their status as Commonwealth citizens have been facing deportation and told they do not have the right to stay in the UK, despite having lived and worked here for many years, it has emerged. Last week, Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to apologise to the “Windrush generation” and their children, while Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned over the weekend as a result of the scandal.

In the latest update for landlords and agents checking that tenants have the Right to Rent – a policy where a potential renter’s eligibility to live in the UK must be confirmed before a tenancy is granted – the government has provided clarification on how this applies to “Windrush” cases.

The new guidelines state that if a tenant has lived in the UK permanently since before 1973, and hasn’t been away for any significant length of time in the last 30 years, they have a right to rent a property in this country. For those that arrived after 1 January 1973, the automatic right to live here may not apply but they might be allowed to live here permanently and rent a home.

More clarity needed

If landlords or agents have any doubts or queries about the Right to Rent policy or prospective tenants, they are advised to contact the Home Office, and also to ask that prospective tenants who do not have evidence of their right to rent contact a dedicated unit at the Home Office.

However, the guidance has come under fire from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), which has argued that it does not provide enough clarity for landlords.

Recent research found that more than half (51%) of landlords would be put off renting to foreign nationals for fear of breaching Right to Rent rules, while 49% admitted they were less likely to let their property out to someone who only had the right to remain in the UK temporarily.

The RLA believes this is leading to huge discrimination in the private rented sector (PRS), and is supporting a judicial review, launched by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, to abolish Right to Rent.

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