The government faces a possible challenge in High Court to its “Right to Rent” policy, which requires landlords to carry out immigration status checks. On Wednesday, 6th June 2018, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants won the permission to bring a Judicial Review claim against the Home Office’s “Right to Rent” scheme. The bases of the claim was that the Home Office policy causes indirect racial discrimination and breaches the European Convention on Human Rights. The questions about the controversial “Right to Rent” policy were raised in the light of Windrush scandal. People of this generation are particularly vulnerable, as they cannot easily prove their right to remain in the UK. The scheme may put people at risk of homelessness and increase the cases of modern slavery and trafficking.
The “Right to Rent” policy was introduced in 2015 by Theresa May as a part of a plan to create ‘hostile environment’ for illegal immigrants under the 2014 Immigration Act. Under this policy all landlords should conduct checks of the immigration status of the potential tenants and lodgers in order to rent the residential property. Landlords could potentially face a prison sentence of up to five years or receive a fine if they rent a place for a person, who does not have leave to remain in the UK.
The scheme was meant to be thoroughly and transparently evaluated, but no such evaluations were conducted and there is no data that the scheme has the intended effect.
A cross-party group of MPs has also written to Home Secretary Sajid Javid with request to scrap or review “Right To Rent” policy.
The hearing date for the Judicial Review challenge has not been announced yet.