The Residential Landlords Association has reiterated its support for a legal challenge to Right To Rent which is to be made in court today.
Right To Rent remains a flagship part of the ‘hostile environment’ strategy for illegal immigrants introduced by Theresa May whilst she was at the Home Office.
RTR makes agents and landlords responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants with the threat of prosecution if they let a property despite having “reasonable cause to believe” that it will be occupied by someone without the right to reside in the UK.
The RLA’s backing is for an application by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants for a Judicial Review of the policy. Both organisations argue that the policy discriminates against foreign nationals, especially those, such as the Windrush generation, who cannot easily prove their right to remain in the UK.
The application is being heard at the High Court today.
Research by the RLA has found that, as a result of the right to rent policy, 42 per cent of landlords are now less likely to rent to someone without a British passport for fear of prosecution for getting things wrong.
This poses serious difficulties for the 17 per cent of UK residents who do not have a passport, a group that is more likely to be in rented accommodation.
Some 49 per cent of landlords are less likely to rent to someone with limited leave to remain and 44 per cent of landlords would only rent to those with documents familiar to them. In practice, this is likely to again mean a British passport.
In a recent report on the scheme, David Bolt - the government-appointed Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration - says the policy has “yet to demonstrate its worth as a tool to encourage immigration compliance” and that the Home Office, administering the scheme, is “failing to coordinate, maximise or even measure effectively its use, while at the same time doing little to address the concerns of stakeholders.”
Also today the Labour Peer Baroness Lister will use a question in the House of Lords to ask about the government’s plans for RTR in light of the Chief Inspector’s damning report.
“When asked for evidence that the hostile environment was working [former Home Secretary] Amber Rudd could only point to ‘anecdotes’. [New Home Secretary] Sajid Javid said there were no measures in place ‘as such’ to evaluate it. We’re talking about the policies that inflicted so much harm on the Windrush generation, and our Home Secretaries are operating in the dark” claims Chai Patel, the JCWI’s legal policy director.