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Court judgement could impact Right to Rent

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

A landmark court judgement may have a significant impact on the Government’s Right to Rent legislation.

Airline Ryanair won a civil court case after appealing against fines imposed by the Home Office for carrying illegal immigrants into the UK.

Significantly, the judge who found in favour of the airline said its staff could not be expected to spot cleverly forged passports that even trained immigration officers found hard to detect.

The judge said the way the regime for airlines to check passports is operated by the Home Office “offends the basic concepts of justice and indeed rule of law.”

The Residential Landlords Association now believes the ruling could impact on the Government’s ability to enforce its ‘Right to Rent’ policy.

Whilst the ruling is not binding on other courts it does raise that prospect that under the Right to Rent – the scheme that expects landlords to check the immigration status of their tenants – a landlord who has also been duped by a good, forged document would be likely to be successful with an appeal against any action taken against them by the Home Office.

The ruling comes just days before the House of Lords debates a motion seeking to suspend the roll out of the Right to Rent scheme across the country.

RLA Policy Director, David Smith said: “This court ruling vindicates what we have been saying all along, that landlords cannot and should not be expected to act as border police or to detect forgeries that trained and experienced airline staff and immigration officers might miss.

“In light of this case and to save the Government money from losing similar actions brought by landlords, we call on the Government to provide better information to landlords about document forgeries and offer more clarity as to the legal responsibility of landlords duped by forged identify documents.”

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About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Media and Communications Officer for the RLA. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

1 Comment

  • When i worked as an Overseas Visitor Manager establishing my team had to check Passports/Visas/Leave to Remain to establish a persons right to free NHS treatment . We worked closely with the Home Office and even though we had training on being able to spot forgeries, it was made very clear that as long as we could show that we had done some basic checks that would uncover any discrepancies “that any “reasonable person” could spot – we would NOT be penalised if the documents later proved to be false.
    The checks that Landlords are being asked to undertake are not onerous and as a landlord should be done as a matter of course to assist in debt recovery later on.
    People need to get a grip and realise this is a GOOD thing.

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