Tuesday 9th October 2018


EU citizens could face repeat of Windrush scandal post-Brexit, says RLA

EU citizens living in the UK are at risk of facing some of the same difficulties caused for the Windrush generation by a lack of legal certainty around their status after Brexit, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

The RLA has written to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, demanding that EU citizens are provided with a hard copy document to prove their status to avoid confusion over their Right to Rent in the UK post-Brexit.

The association, which has joined forces with campaign group ‘the3million’, a grassroots movement set up to give a voice to the three million EU citizens living in the UK, has long maintained that the policy could lead to indirect discrimination, with landlords, forced to act as what it describes as ‘border police’, likely to play it safe when it comes to renting out their homes, especially in light of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

Research by the RLA’s research division PEARL last year found that, as a result of the Right to Rent policy, 42% of landlords are now less likely to rent to someone without a British passport for fear of prosecution for getting things wrong. 

The letter, which you can read in full by clicking here, was signed by RLA policy director, David Smith and Nicolas Hatton, chief executive of the3million.

It reads: “Without issuing a clear and understandable hard copy document to those whose rights would be protected, there is a very real danger of a repeat of the difficulties caused for many in the Windrush generation who were in the country legally but unable to easily prove it.

“Such a document must be issued now so that, as tenancies come up for renewal between now and next March, landlords can be confident that they can continue to let to EU citizens, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”

It continues: “Without issuing a clear and understandable hard copy document to those whose rights would be protected, there is a very real danger of a repeat of the difficulties caused for many in the Windrush Generation who were in the country legally but unable to easily prove it.

“Such a document must be issued now so that, as tenancies come up for renewal between now and next March, landlords can be confident that they can continue to let to EU citizens, even in the event of a no deal Brexit.”

The letter, which has also been forwarded to other senior politicians including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, immigration minister Caroline Nokes and housing minister Kit Malthouse MP also includes the questions:

+ In the event of a no deal Brexit, without a transition period, what would be the status of an EU citizen who came to the country now? Would they have to leave by the end of March? Without urgent clarity landlords will not know whether or not they are able to rent a property to them with the expectation that they will be able to see out a tenancy.

+ In the event of a transition period being agreed from the end of March, and in light of the government suggesting it might legislate for three-year tenancies in the sector, would landlords be required to offer three year tenancies, or would they only be obligated to offer them until the end of a transition period?


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