The RLA reports that landlords are being given a voice in the Right to Rent debate. Following a damning judicial review in the High Court of the Right to Rent scheme, the government has decided to take their case to the Court of Appeal.
The court has now agreed that the Residential Landlords Association can make a submission that includes landlords’ views on the matter.
The Right to Rent scheme has been criticised by the High Court as causing racial discrimination. The High Court found that it was in violation of EU Human Rights Law. In a highly critical judgment handed down in March of this year, Judge Martin Spencer found that the Right to Rent scheme was leading landlords to discriminate against non-UK tenants and British people from ethnic minorities.
When asked to rule on whether the scheme should be rolled out in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Judge Spencer said:
“The evidence, when taken together, strongly showed not only that landlords are discriminating against potential tenants on grounds of nationality and ethnicity but also that they are doing so because of the scheme.”
He added that discrimination on racial grounds was “logical and wholly predictable”, given that landlords faced a number of punitive fines and penalties for renting to someone who did not have the right to remain in the UK.
In a statement, the RLA’s policy director 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.
“We are disappointed the government has chosen to appeal against what was a clear and damning verdict by the High Court.
“However, we will ensure that the views of landlords are well represented as we send a message that they should not be used to cover for the failings in the UK border agencies.”
Creating a Hostile Environment in the PRS
The Right to Rent scheme has attracted a lot of criticism since it was first rolled out. The scheme, implemented by Theresa May, requires landlords to verify a tenant’s immigration status. If the landlord fails to carry out adequate checks or knowingly lets a property to an illegal immigrant, they face a hefty prison sentence of up to five years. Nobody has been prosecuted since the scheme began, but the threat of prosecution is enough to deter some landlords from renting properties to anyone clearly not from the UK.
Because it is so contentious, the RLA is calling for whoever is elected in the Conservative leadership battle to scrap the scheme entirely. In the meantime, we will wait for the appeal to go ahead.
Tell us more about your thoughts on the Right to Rent scheme. We’d love to hear from you!
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