Right to Rent Challenge to Go Ahead
Date of Article
Jul 13 2018
Residential services

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@ Lisa Simon
Lisa Simon
Partner, Head of Residential
020 7518 3234 Email me About Lisa
Lisa Simon heads up our Residential Division, which includes sales, new homes, BTR, lettings and property management across our national network. She joined Carter Jonas in 2011 and has over thirty years' experience largely in London and the Home Counties working with Landlords and Tenants. Lisa oversees the day to day running of our residential offices and acts as a key contact for our Christies International Real Estate Affiliates and some of our lettings portfolio clients. She also oversees our corporate services department liaising and promoting our properties to companies and their relocation agents.

On Wednesday 6 June, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), supported by the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), won the right to launch a high court case against the controversial Right to Rent checks.

Right to Rent, which was introduced as part of Government attempts to cut down on illegal immigration in February 2016, make it a landlord’s responsibility to establish that a tenant has a right to be in the UK. These checks must be carried out on all tenants even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement.

The policy has been unpopular with landlords because of its onerous nature: landlords must check tenants' immigration status by viewing original immigration documents in the presence (or via live video link) of the applicant and make copies of the documents which must then be retained for 12 months after the tenancy expires.  Where applicants whose immigration documents are held by the Home Office and are therefore not available, landlords are required to use the Government’s Landlords Checking Service and report any instances in which individuals are not found to meet the requirements.

Furthermore, landlords who allow a tenancy to an adult who is disqualified as a result of their immigration status may currently be convicted of a criminal offence under Section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014.

The JCWI is a long-time critic of the policy on the grounds that it is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. Its research found that, as a result of the scheme, 42% of landlords said that they were less likely to rent to those without a UK passport and 51% were less likely to non-EU nationals.

Similarly, a survey by the RLA found that landlords were 43% less likely to rent to anyone without a UK passport and 46% less likely to rent to a non-EU national.  

Apparently since the Right to Rent rules were introduced just over two years ago, 405 landlords have fallen foul of the rules and have been fined on average over £654 each.

Both the RLA and the JCWI believe that Right to Rent is creating a hostile environment for those who need, and are legally entitled to, housing in the UK.  Parallels have been drawn with the recent Windrush scandal, heightening concerns of discrimination.

No hearing date has yet been given for the judicial review challenge.