Right to Rent Farce

by Property 118

6:50 AM, 26th March 2019
About 4 weeks ago

Right to Rent Farce

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Right to Rent Farce

ONE of the Government’s flagship immigration policies has been branded a farce after a court ruling that a landlord who seeks to repossess property where the Home Office tells them a tenant does not have the right to rent, is breaching equalities law.

Under the Right to Rent scheme landlords are responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants with the prospect of prosecution if they know or have “reasonable cause to believe” that the property they are letting is occupied by someone who does not have a right to rent in the UK. It was introduced by Theresa May as Home Secretary as a key plank of the Government’s ‘hostile environment’ for illegal immigrants.

Where the Home Office identifies a tenant without the right to rent, they will issue a formal notice to the landlord who then uses this as the basis to repossess the property. In a judgement issued by the High Court it has ruled that this breaches the Equality Act on the basis that it amounts to “direct discrimination on the basis of nationality.”

Whilst the wording of the Act means that the Home Secretary cannot be prosecuted for this, landlords who are forced to comply with the notice can be charged under the law as well as being at risk of a civil claim being made against them.

This ruling gives tenants who may not legally be allowed to be in the country a defence against any claim to evict them from a property and entitles them to an injunction to prevent eviction and possibly a further claim for damages.

A further ruling earlier this month by the High Court concluded that the scheme breached the European Convention on Human Rights on the basis that it led to discrimination against non-UK nationals with the right to rent and British ethnic minorities. The Judge concluded that the Scheme caused landlords to discriminate where otherwise they would not, describing such discrimination by landlords a being “logical and wholly predictable” when faced with potential sanctions and penalties for getting things wrong.

The Residential Landlords Association is writing to the Home Office to seek urgent changes to address what it is describing as a farcical situation.

David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, said:

“This new ruling makes the Right to Rent a farce. To put landlords in a position where acting on a direct instruction provided by the Home Office leaves them open to breaching equality law cannot be tolerated.

“With the High Court having ruled that discrimination is baked into the Right to Rent scheme it is time for the policy to be scrapped altogether.”



Comments

B4lamb

8:57 AM, 27th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

The high court ruling was a one off case and the government is contesting it. No landlords have been prosecuted to date and if they apply the checks fairly and consistently on all potential tenants (EU and Non EU) then there is no risk accusations of disrimination.
When checking documents of a new tenant and it is found that an individual does not have a right to rent it is not necessary to report that individual to the home office. It is only necessary to decline that individual from renting your property. Reporting is only necessary for existing tenants if and when their right to rent expires. I have raised this apparent discrepancy with my local MP and he is investigating this further with the home office.
There is no government plan to withdraw the requirement for landlords to continue carrying out the checks in England but the court ruling has apparently put a temporary hold on rolling the scheme out to Scotland and Wales.

Dylan Morris

9:00 AM, 27th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

Welcome to the topsy turvy world of the United Kingdom.
You really couldn’t make this stuff up. And if you did nobody would believe you. How on earth can an illegal immigrant who should not be here and as such is committing a criminal offence but entitled to protection under equality rules. And the landlord can be prosecuted for such ? It beggars believe it really really does.
They’ll be ignoring the result of a democratically held referendum next !!

Hamish McBloggs

9:58 AM, 29th March 2019
About 3 weeks ago

... and what happens if the person had a valid visa and is applying for an indefinite visa. The Home Office themselves have had the prospective tenant's paperwork for months and months and all they can say is

'On the information available to the Home Office we are unable to confirm that this person has a right to rent.'

Where are these people supposed to live in the meantime and they will lose their job if their employer does their regular checks?

Utter shambles

Hamish


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