The Home Office says it will reassess the Right To Rent scheme following last week’s decision by the High Court that the measure breached human rights law.
Immigration minister Caroline Nokes has told MPs that the government would also appeal the decision and that - in the meantime at least - the measure remained in place with letting agents and landlords obliged to make checks on prospective tenants.
“The law was and remains absolutely clear that discriminatory treatment on the part of anyone carrying out these checks is unlawful. And the Right To Rent legislation provides for a Code of Practice which sets out what landlords are expected to do” Nokes told the Commons.
Right To Rent checks were first piloted in Birmingham and parts of the West Midlands from December 2014, before being rolled out across England in 2016.
Under Right To Rent, landlords are responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants with the prospect of prosecution if they know or have “reasonable cause to believe” that the property they are letting is occupied by someone who does not have the right to rent in the UK.
It was introduced by Theresa May - then Home Secretary - as a key plank of the government’s ‘hostile environment’ for illegal immigrants.
The Home Office’s own evaluation of the first six months of the scheme - looking specifically at Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton – found “no systemic discrimination on the basis of race” Nokes claims.
The initial case against Right To Rent was brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants with support from Liberty and the Residential Landlords Association.