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Right To Rent: date set for full High Court challenge

The government’s controversial Right To Rent policy is to be challenged in the High Court just before Christmas.

It was announced in early June that a charity, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, had obtained permission to challenge Right To Rent in court. 

Now the JCWI has announced this will take the form of a full hearing before the High Court on December 18 and 19.

“This is going to be the first proper chance a court in the UK will have to determine the legality of the hostile environment Theresa May created that conscripted ordinary people into acting as her border guards” says the charity’s announcement, which adds: “We are close to ending this pernicious experiment once and for all.” 

In June David Smith, policy director of the Residential Landlords Association - which supported the JCWI’s challenge - said: “Landlords will welcome the High Court decision to allow a judicial review of the Right to Rent policy which has put them in the impossible position of acting as untrained border police trying to ascertain who does and who does not have the right to be in the country. This has created difficulties for many legitimate tenants as landlords are forced to play safe and only rent to those with a UK passport.”

Right To Rent was introduced in England in February 2016 under the 2014 Immigration Act, but is yet to be implemented in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. 

The basis of the challenge is that the checks allegedly cause discrimination on grounds of race and nationality and therefore breach the Human Rights Act, and that they should be reversed before any roll out across the whole of the UK.

All private landlords, or agents acting on their behalf, must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent a residential property in England. The policy also affects commercial landlords and agents if they handle mixed use properties, such as flats above shops.

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