Overseas Tenants

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    Overseas Tenants

    Hi,

    A couple of years ago, I had my fingers burnt with whom I thought were a lovely professional couple from South Africa. However, they left me with months of unpaid rent and the house in a squalid state of repair. They were in the UK on a visa work permit, but were not full British citizens with no British passport or NI number. I found it impossible to trace them and therefore take them through our UK Courts system for payment of unpaid rent and condiderable damage costs to my property.

    My question is this:- On the grounds that any new potential Tenants apply for my house who do not hold a full British passport and therefore are not British Citizens, have no NI number or fixed abode in the UK and able to *up sticks in the night* and leave my property with unpaid rent etc. Am I able to refuse a tenancy on the grounds that they are foreign nationals with no British passport, or would this be deemed *discrimination*.

    Many thanks, Mac

    #2
    I believe that anyone working in the UK will be attributed a NI number. It can take a couple of months after they start work, though.

    When tracing an individual in the UK I do not think that it makes much difference whether their passport is British or foreign.

    Obviously refusing to let based on nationality is illegal discrimination.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by MacMan View Post
      Am I able to refuse a tenancy on the grounds that they are foreign nationals with no British passport.
      You are not making a decision based on the grounds that they are foreign nationals with no
      British passport, but a monetary decision to protect your business.

      You are a businessman, and are ENTITLED to make business decisions.

      You are able to show that if a UK person defaults, they can normaly
      be found. If none Uk defaults and goes back home overseas, then proof
      is there to prove you cannot get your "money" if owed, under those
      circumstances.

      Your business decision is If anything goes wrong, will i be paid.

      You don't have to refuse, you just offer it to someone else.
      You can even say we have 3 applicants, and we have to let down two.
      Then further down the line you can say the one that we offered it found
      somewhere else.

      It is not against the law to make a commercial decision to ensure your
      business does not lose money, does not go bankrupt because you made the
      wrong commercial decision to give credit / property to individuals who will not be
      able to be traced once they leave the county, owing thousands.

      I used to give credit to persons in U.S.A. every day. i never saw them, but I
      did insist on a copy of their credit card and licence, but my business was vastly
      different, with credit card terminal, and ability to charge credit cards any amount,
      and even reserve funds on their credit card. ( which you unfortunately cannot do )
      Buy i did refuse some, as a business decision, of ability to pay, expiration of credit
      card date if after their return.

      So all you can do is decide if you will get paid if they leave the country and
      dont pay you, If the answer is - that is a certainty -then refuse tenancy.

      R.a.M.

      Comment


        #4
        I'm afraid ram is not correct. Discriminating on grounds of nationality is illegal under the Equality Act 2010, whether you think it necessary to protect your business or not.
        Disclaimer:

        The above represents my own opinion, derived from personal knowledge and should not be relied upon as definitive or accurate advice. It is offered free of charge and may contain errors or omissions or be an inaccurate opinion of the law. I accept no liability for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relying on the above.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by bhaal View Post
          I'm afraid ram is not correct. Discriminating on grounds of nationality is illegal under the Equality Act 2010, whether you think it necessary to protect your business or not.
          I guess it would be perfectly legal to refuse a tenancy to an English prospective tenant who could not provide a sufficiently robust credit check? Surely then it must be acceptable to refuse a tenancy to a non English tenant in the same situation? If not, it would be reverse discrimination.

          Surely, the question is not "what is this persons nationality" but "is this person a sound financial proposition"

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
            I guess it would be perfectly legal to refuse a tenancy to an English prospective tenant who could not provide a sufficiently robust credit check? Surely then it must be acceptable to refuse a tenancy to a non English tenant in the same situation? If not, it would be reverse discrimination.

            Surely, the question is not "what is this persons nationality" but "is this person a sound financial proposition"
            This is completely correct. The difference is that by refusing to even contemplate a credit check for non-British nationals you're using thier nationality as the determining factor rather than your creditworthiness. The OP should just ask potential tenants to pass a credit check.
            Disclaimer:

            The above represents my own opinion, derived from personal knowledge and should not be relied upon as definitive or accurate advice. It is offered free of charge and may contain errors or omissions or be an inaccurate opinion of the law. I accept no liability for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relying on the above.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by bhaal View Post
              The OP should just ask potential tenants to pass a credit check.
              Yes. And in all fairness it should be a credit check that they can pass if they are in a sound position knowing that they are foreigners and potentially just arrived.
              Imo, otherwise it could be argued that the check is designed to fail foreigners, which I think would also fall into illegal discrimination (though obviously more difficult to prove).

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
                Yes. And in all fairness it should be a credit check that they can pass if they are in a sound position knowing that they are foreigners and potentially just arrived.
                Why should the credit check be any different than for 'English' applicants?

                An overseas national, newly arrived in this country, would NOT get a credit card due to their lack of UK credit history, why can they get a house? Are Barclaycard racist?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                  An overseas national, newly arrived in this country ... why can they get a house?
                  One for the Daily Mail. ;-) Quite in line with their front page this morning, actually.

                  Barclaycard does not charge for this check and they do this check before actually giving you _credit_.

                  If you have a foreign prospective tenant who tells you he's just arrived and therefore cannot provide any previous address in the UK, etc. the only thing a standard check can hope to show is that he lied if a CCJ or bad record pops up.

                  I guess my point was just that in fairness, if LL decides not to proceed, such a prospective tenant should not be charged for the check unless it showed they lied.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                    An overseas national, newly arrived in this country, would NOT get a credit card due to their lack of UK credit history, why can they get a house?
                    Are Barclaycard racist?
                    Barclaycard make a commercial decision based on the criteria mentioned in
                    post 3, and are entitled to do so to protect their assets, and their existing
                    customers money.

                    We have all heard of the Nigerian spams and scams, so are these spammers
                    going to sue you under the Equality Act 2010 for not sending them that money transfer ?
                    You make decisions based on experience, or LOGICAL progression.

                    It is not against the law to make a commercial decision to ensure your
                    business does not lose money, does not go bankrupt.

                    To anyone who reads this, then is in fear of the Equality Act 2010, and your
                    tenants trash the place, never pay you rent, go back to some other country,
                    where you CANNOT find them or even have the money to sue them, or the
                    Guarantor tells you to P**s off, you can't afford to sue me here.
                    Then I will say -- I told you so, and you should not be in business if you
                    cant even make a ONE simple decision on who you rent out your property
                    to.

                    R.a.M.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      If renting to someone I always get copies of Driving Licence or Passport, NI card and payslips, get "emergency contacts" (private & work), credit/tenant check and maybe guarantor. Then make a decision: If anyone declines to supply such info, bye-bye..

                      As RaM says, it's a business decision.. if you hear from a prior landlord that a white, male, hetero, English, member of the house-of-lords wrecked a house & didn't pay rent then rejecting them is no more discrimination than doing likewise to someone you heard the same of who was brown, female, gay, Polish...

                      I've had good and bad experience of renting to Polish citizens with no local guarantors (as quite recent arrivals). But the worst experiences I've had of tenants has been the ruddy English ones (and I'm Engerlish...).
                      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by JK0
                        Hmm, so go through the motions of showing a property and taking all tenant's details when you know there is no chance of them passing a credit check?
                        Would they fail your test just because they are foreigners or because they've just moved to the UK? In the later case, a British citizen coming back here after a few years abroad should fail in the same way.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
                          ...... In the later case, a British citizen coming back here after a few years abroad should fail in the same way.
                          And not be entitled to various benefits and help such as HB/LHA.. (probably much to their surprise & anger...)
                          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                          Comment

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