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Trade body backs legal challenge to Theresa May's Right To Rent

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.

Poll: Right To Rent is discriminatory, plain and simple


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    ... and to the rest of us outside London, this really doesnt matter. I can honestly say that not one of my landlords has turned someone down because they do not have a British Passport!

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    • J T
    • 06 June 2018 10:18 AM

    Yes it does matter!

    We specialise in letting retirement properties nationwide and many elderly, frail and sometimes vulnerable people do not have the paper work to prove their right to rent in the UK. The process has caused a great amount of extra work, stress and delays for these people in trying to obtain the strict evidence they need. I quite regularly just make a commercial decision and take the risk to accept them without full evidence. This means I could potentially end up in jail.

    It's easy letting to young, technically and physically able professionals, but try following the rules for a frail, partially deaf 94 year old with no support network, no computer or smartphone and who has never had a passport and lost their birth certificate in WW2. This is an absolutely genuine situation and far from being an isolated case for us.

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    I work in one of the UK's most culturally diverse towns, and we still have an incredibly low percentage of tenants who have a problem providing the correct paperwork and no landlords have turned down a tenant simply because they don't have a UK passport.
    The checks required are simple to carry out, the legislation is simple to understand for anyone who has been involved in referencing previously and recording the results should be no different to what we should all be doing anyway.
    Agents and landlords are not being asked to do the Immigration Department's work for them anymore than we are doing HSE's job by checking gas safety certs.

    I struggle to believe the RLA have got this right


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