Lettings industry experts are turning up the volume around their demand to ‘Scrap the Right to Rent’ urging the Conservative Party leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to listen to their calls to scrap the controversial Right to Rent scheme.
The organisations – the Residential Landlords Association, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and the organisation, The3million, which represents EU citizens in the UK – have together called on both candidates to scrap the policy after the High Court rule that it causes discrimination against British ethnic minorities.
Private landlords face potential imprisonment of up to five years if they know or have “reasonable cause to believe” that the property they are letting is occupied by someone who does not have the right to rent in the UK. The policy was introduced by Theresa May, when she was Home Secretary within the Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’.
High Court: “Right to Rent breaches human rights law
It has received damning criticism by the High Court which said that the Right to Rent breaches human rights law because it actually causes racial discrimination that otherwise would not happen.
Following a Judicial Review of the policy secured by the JCWI and supported by the RLA, the presiding judge concluded that discrimination by landlords was taking place “because of the Scheme.”
In his judgment he said that discrimination by landlords was “logical and wholly predictable” when faced with potential sanctions and penalties for getting things wrong.
The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration also concluded that the Right to Rent had “yet to demonstrate its worth as a tool to encourage immigration compliance”.
David Smith, Policy Director for the RLA, said, “The Right to Rent has been a failure. No one has been prosecuted under the scheme but it has created a great deal of anxiety for landlords who do not want to go to prison for getting it wrong. Landlords should not be used to cover for the failings in the UK Border Agencies.”
Nicolas Hatton, CEO of
The3million said that, “Two-thirds of EU citizens in the UK live in private rented housing and will be affected if this failed scheme continues.”
“We are already seeing that landlords are less likely to rent to anyone without a British passport, and uncertainty about Brexit added to the hostile environment will only increase the discrimination EU citizens are facing. We urge the UK government to scrap this scheme and end the discrimination.”
Chai Patel, Legal Policy Director of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, added that, “The Home Office is now arguing in its appeal that it is justified in causing racial discrimination against British ethnic minority families struggling to find a home. It is arguing that black and brown British people’s dignity, humanity, and rights can be tossed aside to pursue Theresa May’s Hostile Environment.
“That cannot be acceptable in modern Britain. The new Prime Minister must commit to ending landlord immigration checks, and the discrimination they cause”.