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Right to Rent: Government wins appeal

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The government has won its appeal against a ruling that its Right to Rent scheme breaches human rights laws, it was revealed today.

Under Right to Rent, 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.

The NRLA objected to the scheme on the basis it is turning landlords into untrained and unwilling border police and is encouraging them to discriminate. It went on to call for the government to scrap it altogether.

Judicial review

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 this was “logical and wholly predictable” when faced with potential sanctions and penalties for getting things wrong.

However that decision has now been overruled, following an appeal by the government, heard at the Court of Appeal in January.


John Stewart, NRLA policy manager said: “This is disappointing news as judges agree the scheme is having little impact in meeting its objectives, yet its putting a huge amount of pressure on landlords who are torn between meeting their right to rent obligations on the one hand and being accused of discrimination on the other.”

The JCWI said it plans to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court.

More information

For more information on Right to Rent including the RLA’s pre-tenancy information form click here.

The Government has published new guidance for landlords on conducting Right to Rent checks during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance makes a number of significant, temporary changes to the right to rent regime, to acknowledge the need for social distancing at this time.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

1 Comment

  • Of course the councils should give a tax break, are they really the most important office on the block? no, they are servants and their priority is to their community or they have no credibility.

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