Landlords and letting and managing agents need to be aware that the European Union Settlement Scheme requires all non-UK and non-Irish European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals to apply to stay in the UK following Brexit. You should look to support the Scheme that is open for applications until 30 June 2021. You may be asked to help provide paperwork for existing or past tenancies and need also to be aware Government has indicated its intention to move to a new points-based immigration system in 2021 applying equally to EU and non-EU nationals.
The European Union Settlement Scheme is an online only process requiring applicants to submit proof of nationality, proof of UK residency and to declare any criminal convictions. EEA countries includes all members of the EU as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Applicants need to show five years continuous residency in the UK to be granted settled status. Those who have been in the UK for less than 5 years will be granted pre-settled status. They will then be eligible for settled status after 5 years.
EU citizens with settled status or pre-settled status retain their rights to work in the UK, use the NHS, enrol in education or continue studying, access public funds such as benefits and pensions if eligible.
3.2 million people have already secured their right to stay under the Settlement Scheme in the UK.
In Newcastle, the City Council offers an Identity Verification service for applicants and a number of other organisations can provide support to your tenants too :
- Riverside Community Health Project : 07943 197 249 / EUSSadvice@riversidechp.co.uk - including socially distanced face-to-face booked appointments
- Children’s Society North East 0191 349 9481 / email@example.com - support across the wider North East
- Settled - a national organisation with a local presence that can help with information and support in 15 different languages on their website and 8 languages on the phone
- North East Law Centre who operate a weekly advice line for people referred to them
Please feel free to print off the attached poster and share it with your tenants.
There are 26 translations of information and guidance on the Gov.UK website.
From January, 2021 anyone wishing to move to the UK will need to score a minimum of 70 points under new criteria. People will be assessed on factors including salary, English-speaking ability, education and whether a job or job offer is “in a shortage occupation”. Some of the criteria will be essential. The new system will run alongside the existing EU Settlement Scheme.
Right to Rent regulations are expected to remain in force keeping the onus on landlords to check a tenant’s right to rent in the UK. This involves checking passports and any relevant original documentation prior to a tenant moving in. At present, failure to do so can lead to an unlimited fine or even a prison sentence.
Although the Settlement Scheme is in operation, it remains illegal to ask EU, EEA or Swiss citizens to show they have settled status or pre-settled status when starting a new tenancy. It will also not be necessary to make retrospective checks from 2021, although there is no guidance on what landlords need to do after that date for new tenants. The Royal Landlords Association is urging landlords to have a conversation with their tenants about EUSS rules. Likewise, a conversation with letting or managing agents on who and how checks will take place and what cost if any.
If you are a landlord of student accommodation, current advice is students will be assessed under the same points-based system but with slightly different characteristics. They will need to prove they have an offer from an approved university or college, can speak English and are able to support themselves during their studies in the UK.
Discrimination against tenants based on race is illegal. Final details of Government’s new immigration system may yet change ahead of January next year so, if you can, get professional advice.