European citizens living or moving to the UK are being turned away when they try to rent accommodation with some letting agents advertising specifically for British citizens, it is claimed.
According to findings by the EU citizens’ rights campaign group, Europeans are being turned away by landlords and letting agents, which is making it difficult for them to find a home.
The findings also show that some advertised rental properties have specified UK citizens only, or outlined different terms for EU nationals. This also extends to jobs, with a dossier showing evidence of more than two dozen housing, employment and other adverts, many of which invite applications only from those with UK, or Irish citizenship.
The Guardian newspaper spoke with a number of EU nationals who recalled recent instances of discrimination. Natasha, a 42 year old Polish teaching assistant, said she and her friends are afraid to move from rented accommodation because landlords don’t know if they will make them secure tenants after March 2019.
As a result the Government’s equalities office is examining growing evidence that EU nationals in the UK are being illegally prevented from renting or buying properties, getting jobs and booking holidays.
Jeremy Robinson, managing director of Housing Hand, which currently acts as a guarantor for over 50,000 tenants from 141 countries, said that there is a lot of confusion. ‘Many landlords and letting agents who are deeply unsure of the new requirements to rent to foreign individuals, which is leading them to turn away non UK passport holders,’ he explained.
‘The Government’s introduction of Right to Rent has led to landlords and agents discriminating between applicants on the basis of their background, with some prepared to turn away tenants, just because they have a foreign accent. Legitimate tenants who cannot easily identify themselves using a British or EU passport are finding it harder to secure somewhere to live,’ he pointed out.
He believes that landlords and agents face a dilemma as they want to be fair to prospective tenants, but many are nervous of renting a property to a tenant who does not have a right to rent.
‘It is understandable why some landlords and agents are turning down international tenants, before any checks are made and are concentrating on tenants that will be able to provide a UK guarantor,’ he added.
The firm helps international students, graduating university students, professional school students entering the workforce, employed UK nationals and non-UK nationals, self-employed people and British students with responsible parties to secure rental accommodation.