The government’s appeal against a damning ruling by the High Court that the Right to Rent breaches human rights law will be heard on Wednesday.
Following a Judicial Review of the policy secured by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and supported by the RLA and Liberty last March, the presiding judge concluded discrimination by landlords was taking place “because of the scheme.”
In his judgment he said discrimination by landlords was “logical and wholly predictable” when faced with potential sanctions and penalties for getting things wrong.
The government confirmed it was to appeal to decision, with the case scheduled to be heard on January 15, with the hearing to be live streamed on the Court of Appeal’s YouTube channel here.
The Court of Appeal is allowing the RLA to submit written and oral evidence, ensuring that the views of landlords are to be at the centre of the case.
Under the Right to Rent policy, private landlords face potential imprisonment of up to five years if they know or have “reasonable cause to believe” that the property they are letting is occupied by someone who does not have the right to rent in the UK. They also face heavy fines.
It was introduced by Theresa May when Home Secretary as part of the Home Office’s hostile environment for immigrants.
Research by the RLA found that the fear of getting things wrong led to 44 per cent of private landlords being less likely to rent to those without a British passport.
It also found 53 per cent of landlords were less likely to rent to those with limited time to remain in the UK, whilst 20 per cent said that they were less likely to consider letting property to EU or EEA nationals. Work by the JCWI uncovered similar findings.
Significantly, during the course of the case government research emerged, which confirmed a significant proportion of landlords were unwilling to rent to people without British passports.
The RLA objects to the scheme on the basis it would turn landlords into untrained and unwilling border police and warned it would lead to the exact form of discrimination the court found last year.
It wants the government to scrap the scheme altogether.
- For more information on Right to Rent including the RLA’s pre-tenancy information form click here.
- Hear landlord and letting agent Leona Leung share her experiences of carrying out ‘Right to Rent’ checks.