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The Brexit Effect on the Private Rental Sector

We still don’t know for sure whether the UK will leave the EU with a deal. In addition, many landlords are unsure of whether they can continue renting properties to EU citizens.

With much-publicised penalties in place for renting to an illegal immigrant, some landlords are refusing to rent properties to anyone from the EU, just in case it is a problem post-Brexit. As a result, the Residential Landlords Association is concerned.

“They [landlords] do not follow every twist and turn of Brexit and it is unreasonable to assume that they are going to be able to divine the details of the settled status scheme from statements made by Theresa May or government ministers,” says David Smith from the RLA.

EU Citizens Must Apply for Settled Status

The government has recently launched a campaign to tell EU citizens what to do if they want to stay in the UK after Brexit. The gist of it is that they will need to register for settled status by 2020 if they want to remain in the UK after Brexit (assuming we ever leave).

“Public information will continue throughout the lifetime of the scheme, alongside direct work with employers, local authorities and voluntary and community organisations,” said a Home Office spokesperson.

There are an estimated 3.8 million EU citizens living in the UK, but less than half of them have registered for settled status, even though the phone app trial has been running since last September. However, of those that have applied for settled status, none have been refused. Interestingly, 95% of people who have applied, did so through the app.

Upset in the PRS

The RLA says all the upset over Brexit is causing havoc in the rental market. They say the government needs to be a lot clearer about ‘right to rent’ rules, so landlords can make well-informed decisions about who to rent to.

“Technically EU citizens have the right to rent, but some landlords will not be aware of the law. Some may not even know what countries are in the European Union,” says the RLA.

Landlords have to visit the Home Office website to verify whether an EU citizen has settled status and is allowed to remain in the UK. The RLA says this could discourage landlords from letting to EU citizens by making it more time-consuming for them.

Home Office Agrees to Meet with RLA

Following criticism from the RLA and other landlord representatives, the Home Office has agreed to hold meetings on the subject. They also say further guidance will be published later in the month.

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