Legal challenge to Right to Rent due in High Court this week

A legal challenge to Right to Rent is due to be heard in the High Court this week.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants is seeking a judicial review. It says that the scheme, which forces landlords or their agents to check the migration status of all prospective tenants, encourages “systemic discrimination” against people of ethnic minority and those without British passports.

Breaches of Right to Rent can result in both civil and criminal penalties for landlords and agents.

Speaking to Sky News, Chai Patel, legal policy director for the JCWI, said it would argue that the policy breaches discrimination laws.

Research by the Residential Landlords Association and the JCWI has shown that almost half of landlords are now less likely to let to tenants who do not have a UK passport.

Leona Leung, a letting agent and landlord in Birmingham, told Sky News:”We are not border agents, we are not in charge of immigration.”

Immigration minister Caroline Noakes has also been warned by the RLA that many landlords and agents “are playing it safe by refusing to rent to anyone without a passport, even if they are UK nationals”.

According to census data, 17% of the population in England and Wales do not have passports.

According to the Home Office, some 405 fines have so far been handed out for breaches of Right to Rent, totalling £265,000.

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4 Comments

  1. RosBeck73

    Ha! Shelter must have been so torn supporting this action. They would love to see landlords imprisoned for not adequately acting as customs officials… it must have killed them to back something that helps landlords.

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  2. MF

    Completely agree with the reasons  behind this legal challenge.

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  3. GeorgeHammond78

    Sorry but the whole Right to Rent system is NOT onerous on the letting agent; it is simple, quick and efficient and requires no more of the agent than they would have undertaken previously. As for the stupid comment; ”We are not border agents, we are not in charge of immigration.” …. There’s lots of things we do for Govt agencies, like vat collection, policing AML, ensuring clients register with the ICO and so on……….

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  4. TheGreyAgent

    When all this started I remember the concerns people had about the low number UK citizens not having passports so we geared up for that; 2 years on and its pretty clear from our records that over 90% of the UK born citizens that come through our door DO have passports; in fact we very rarely have anyone who can’t produce the minimum requirements when asked.  Of the non UK born citizens we see, most have passports or residence permits, well over 95% of them.

    The JCWI is barking up the wrong tree if they think this system is discrimatory in anyway; everyone is treated to the same criteria, so I find it very hard to believe the RLA’s claim that almost half of landlords are less likely to take people without a UK passport – if thats a survey of landlords registered with themselves then they need to take a serious look at the advice they are handing out to landlords!

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