Three quarters of migrants struggle to find somewhere affordable to live in the private rented sector. This is according to research conducted by Generation Rent and Migrant Organise.

The findings, from a survey conducted with 126 migrant private renters, highlight how inequality is affecting people born abroad who are living in the UK.

According to the research, migrants faced significant obstacles in accessing housing. It showed that:

  • 42% reported that they had struggled to find a landlord or letting agent to rent to them as a migrant.
  • 74% of migrant private renters had struggled to find somewhere affordable to rent.
  • 40% had struggled to find the money for a tenancy deposit.
  • 21% had struggled to provide a valid form of ID when looking for somewhere to rent.

The research also suggested that migrants experience “exploitative and illegal” treatment from landlords and letting agents. 17% of survey respondents reported that they had not received any of the documents they were legally entitled to in their current tenancy. Meanwhile, 30% had been threatened with an eviction and 16% had been threatened them with an unaffordable rent increase.

The quality of homes that migrants were able to rent was also called into question, with poor standards and disrepair apparently common among migrant households. 57% reported that they had experienced mould or damp, and 1 in 5 respondents had experienced faulty electrics and 23% reported inadequate fire precautions. Of those that had reported their most recent incident of disrepair to their landlord or letting agent, 51% stated that their landlord had not fixed the repair issue.

In one account, one respondent, Peter (not his real name), recalled: “[The] landlord tried repeatedly to illegally evict with violence to force entry, once with the help of the police who smashed the door in and demanded to see ID in the hopes it would lead to an eviction without court.”

Experiences of temporary accommodation, especially amongst asylum seekers who had lived in Home Office provided accommodation, were also explored in the research.

Participants often stated that poor treatment and a lack of rights whilst living in temporary accommodation acted as significant barriers in accessing safe and secure housing in the Private Rented Sector.

One participant said: “Instead of being happy when you get granted [settled status], you may then just find yourself in trouble. Because they stopped giving you whatever they used to give before… And then, how are you supposed to start fresh? Because if you’re going to rent, you have to pay [a] deposit, you have to pay [the] first month of rent, or probably like three months in advance, because they want to make sure that you can afford that without no work experience. With no income, with no bank account, because you’re not allowed to have a bank account. How are you going to handle that?”

Ben Twomey, chief executive of Generation Rent, said: “Migrant renters are subjected to an exhausting, unsafe and heartless system, where they are disproportionately forced to bear the brunt of the worst of the housing sector.

“The upcoming Renters (Reform) Bill must work to support all renters into safe and secure housing, including marginalised groups such as migrant communities. Only by listening to migrant renters and understanding their experience, will the government be able to get serious about ending housing discrimination in the UK.”

Maymuna Osman, organiser at Migrants Organise, said: “Everyone deserves the right to live in safe and dignified housing, but this government’s hostile immigration system continues to put people at risk of exploitation even in their own homes.

“Migrants living in temporary and private rented accommodation are consistently forced to face undignified conditions with mould, overcrowding, lack of privacy, damp, no heating/hot water and racist right to rent checks.

“We need to remove border controls from housing. People should be able to live in safe, decent homes in their communities and this requires a universal housing standard for all.”