Right to Rent legislation challenged this week

Right to Rent is in the spotlight this week, with a High Court challenging the government, stating that the controversial legislation is causing undue discrimination.


The High Court has granted permission for the Judicial Review of the Right to Rent legislation to take place.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) is arguing that the scheme is having a negative impact on many potential tenants’ ability to rent within the UK, because it encourages landlords to ‘systematically discriminate’ against ethnic minorities or people who do not hold British passports.

Many landlords are concerned that they will not be able to thoroughly complete a R2R check without a British passport – whether this is due to not fully understanding the legislation or not wanting to complete a secondary check - so they are choosing to overlook tenants without this type of ID document.

This decision has left many tenants being denied rental accommodation, despite many having a right to reside in the UK.

A judicial review application hearing is due to take place this week, and it is expected that it will receive backing from a number of charities, human rights groups, MPs and peers. The review states that the Right to Rent policy is fundamentally flawed, and contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights, and must be reviewed.

Landlords are incentivised by the very nature of the scheme to go down the path of least resistance. If they have someone who comes to them with a British passport, they know they are at no risk of criminal liability. JCWI argues that the government is not in any position to justify this policy because it has not gathered any evidence that its ‘hostile environment’ is having any effect – that is, the desired effect of prompting illegal migrants to leave, rather than going underground to be exploited by rogue landlords. It can’t show that it is achieving that end, and it can’t show it has given any consideration of the unintended impact it is having.

Phillippa Kaufmann QC (representing JCWI)

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