Brexit: 'Racist backlash' will damage rental sector, warns agency

The Belvoir franchise letting agency group has taken the unusual step of calling for clarity on government migration policy.

Belvoir managing director Dorian Gonsalves says that in general, after months of pre-referendum uncertainty, the lettings sector has taken a ‘back to business’ approach now that a Brexit has been decided by the vote.

However, Gonsalves says that in some areas continued uncertainty over the future of EU nationals in the UK is having a negative impact.

“For example in Boston in the East Midlands – the most pro-Brexit town in the UK with 75 per cent of the population voting to leave – thousands of EU workers remain anxious about their immigration status. We hope the government will act quickly to resolve this uncertainty and reassure EU citizens about their future in the UK” says Gonsalves. 
Donna Burrell, owner of Belvoir Boston, reports that although the rental and sales markets have now picked up, there is continued anxiety amongst Eastern European workers, with many now adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude before committing to investments.

“There has also been some racist backlash from a minority group, which is making Eastern European tenants and foreign investors feel uncomfortable about committing to investment.

“Boston is reliant on Eastern European migrants to work in factories and keep local businesses afloat. If these workers feel forced to leave, it could potentially be catastrophic for the town, people and local businesses. I hope that the government will end uncertainty by giving out a strong message of reassurance, as many of these people have worked and lived here for several years, and contribute enormously to the community” says Burrell.