Buy-to-let landlords have been fined on average just over £654 each by the Home office for failing to meet their obligations under the somewhat controversial Right to Rent scheme.
Ever since the Right to Rent rules were introduced just over two years ago, no fewer than 405 landlords have fallen foul of the rules, collectively receiving fines totalling £265,000, according to Home Office figures.
The policy, which require landlords to check whether potential tenants have the right to live in the UK, will come under fresh scrutiny this week when a judicial review application hearing, brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), will be heard on the grounds that the strategy is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Over four in 10 landlords are reluctant to rent to those without a British passport, according to research carried out at the end of last year by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
Many of the landlords surveyed said they were less likely to rent to people who cannot produce a British passport because they feared criminal sanctions if they were tricked by false documents.
“Faced with the fear of criminal sanctions many landlords are understandably playing it safe,” said RLA policy director, David Smith.
“It is absurd to conduct a review of the scheme without looking at all the consequences. That is why it is vital that the Home Office suspends the scheme pending a full and detailed assessment of its impact on tenants and prospective tenants,” he added.