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Industry body says court case may weaken Right To Rent enforcement

The ability of the government to enforce controversial elements of the Right To Rent policy has been thrown into doubt by a court judgement according to an industry body. 

As we reported yesterday afternoon, the Residential Landlords’ Association says that a case involving airline Ryanair has raised wider questions

In an appeal by the airline against fines imposed for carrying illegal immigrants into the UK, the judge held that the way the regime for airlines to check passports is operated by the Home Office “offends the basic concepts of justice and indeed rule of law.”

The association says it is significant that the judge noted that airline staff could not be expected to spot cleverly forged passports that even trained immigration officers found hard to detect.

The ruling is not binding on other courts but the RLA says it does raise questions about the expectation that landlords and agents should conduct checks on the immigration status of tenants.

The RLA claims a landlord who has also been duped by a good, forged document may be successful with an appeal against any action taken against them by the Home Office.

The ruling comes just days before the House of Lords debates a motion seeking to suspend the roll-out of the right to rent scheme across the country.

“This court ruling vindicates what we have been saying all along, that landlords cannot and should not be expected to act as border police or to detect forgeries that trained and experienced airline staff and immigration officers might miss” says RLA policy director David Smith. 

“In light of this case … we call on the government to provide better information … about document forgeries and offer more clarity as to the legal responsibility of landlords duped by forged identify documents.”

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