Skip to main content

Contact Us

For advice on immigration,
nationality or human rights,
please contact us now.

Critics Claim Right To Rent Rules Discriminate Against Foreign Nationals

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

Critics Claim Right To Rent Rules Discriminate Against Foreign Nationals

Legal challenges have been launched against the Home Office over its ‘Right to Rent’ rules, requiring landlords to check the immigration status of tenants.

The ‘Right to Rent’ scheme was introduced across England in 2016 and legally requires landlords to confirm that potential tenants have a right to live in the UK. The reasoning behind the scheme is that if those who are in the UK illegally are unable to find housing, they are more likely to voluntarily leave the country. Landlords who fail to comply face a fine of up to £3,000 or up to 5 years in prison. Critics claim that this forces landlords to act as border guards and that the rules have led to widespread discrimination against non-UK nationals.

The Home Office is now facing two legal challenges that seek to reverse this aspect of its ‘hostile environment policy’. 

One case concerns a woman who applied to extend her student visa but the Home Office lost her passport and she has been unable to obtain a replacement passport from her country of origin. She is now applying to remain in the UK as a stateless person but in the meantime her immigration status is uncertain. As a result her landlord is now evicting her from her accommodation.

The other case is being brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), following research that it carried out last year revealing that the ‘Right to Rent’ policy has resulted in widespread discrimination. JCWI’s research found that 51% of landlords would be less likely to let a property to a foreign national due to the right to rent rules and 48% said that they would not rent to foreign nationals because of the risk of criminal sanctions. The Council is calling for a full evaluation of the scheme and its effects.

According to Chai Patel, legal policy director at JCWI, “the problem with it, apart from the inhumanity of that proposition, is that there’s no evidence it works. The Home Office hasn’t shown that the scheme will do anything to increase voluntary departures, which have actually reduced since the scheme came into force”.

MPs have also raised concerns that the policy forces those with uncertain immigration status to rent from ‘rogue landlords’, who are likely to take advantage of people by offering poor quality, poorly maintained accommodation at unreasonable prices.

Phillippa Kaufmann QC, representing JCWI, has said that the ‘Right to Rent’ policy is unjustified as the government is not able to prove that it is having “the desired effect of prompting illegal migrants to leave, rather than going underground to be exploited by rogue landlords”.

The Home Office has refused to comment on this matter.

 

Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with UK immigration. If you need assistance with your immigration matters or wish to receive some more information, please contact us.

 

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2018

Contact Us

For advice on immigration, nationality, extradition or human rights, please contact us now.

Contact us