The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has criticised the government for failing to prepare the rental market for Brexit and has called more guidance.
It warned that EU citizens may face problems getting rented accommodation after Brexit. Ministers have failed to publish any guidance for landlords about the implications of Brexit for the Right to Rent scheme.
Under this scheme landlords are responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants with the prospect of prosecution if they know or have “reasonable cause to believe” that the property they are letting is occupied by someone who does not have a right to rent in the UK.
David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “Landlords are not border police and cannot be expected to know who does and who does not have the right to live here.
“The government needs to publish clear and practical guidance for landlords about the implications of Brexit on who they can and cannot rent to. If they do not, more landlords will become increasingly fearful about renting to non-UK nationals with the potential of facing prosecution.
“The result will be they will avoid renting to anyone who is not a UK national making life difficult for EU nationals.”
With two thirds of all EU nationals in the country living in private rented housing, the RLA is worried that landlords have received no specific guidance about their status, other than sweeping statements by ministers.
Last month, a High Court judge ruled that the right to rent scheme breached the European Convention on Human Rights on the basis that it led to inadvertent discrimination against non-UK nationals with the right to rent.
The RLA’s most recent research suggested that around a fifth of landlords are less likely to rent to nationals from the EU or the European Economic Area as a result of the Right to Rent, a figure the RLA warned could increase post-Brexit.