The government has recently announced that it will push ahead with plans to force landlords to check the immigration status of renters, following a Home Office evaluation of a pilot scheme in Birmingham.
The evaluation showed that six of the local charities surveyed said people they represent had become homeless as a result of the scheme, while interviews with landlords found the ‘potential’ for discrimination. Seven of the charities reported that people who have the right to rent, but not the right documentation, were struggling to find accommodation.
Responding to the evaluation, national homelessness charity, Crisis, raised grave concerns that the measures could leave people homeless and at risk of discrimination.
Matt Downie, Director of Policy and External Affairs at Crisis, said: Today’s Home Office evaluation contains some alarming findings about the homelessness impact of these plans. Crisis has already raised serious concerns that requiring landlords to check the immigration status of renters could make it even harder for homeless people to find a place to live, and this report shows that our fears are well founded.
“It is deeply troubling that in the pilot area, six of the local charities surveyed said that people they represent had become homeless as a result of the scheme, while seven indicated that people with the right to rent were struggling to find accommodation.
“Homeless people’s documents often get lost or stolen, and in today’s high pressure rental market, landlords will be more likely to rent to someone who can provide the evidence quickly. As well as creating problems for homeless people, this could lead to discrimination against foreign nationals and people of black and minority ethnic backgrounds, as today’s evaluation suggests.
“As members of the advisory panel we will be raising these concerns with the Home Office and strongly urge the government to work with us to make sure nobody is made homeless because of this scheme.”