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Right To Rent stays after court rules against campaigners

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the government’s controversial Right To Rent scheme, overturning a decision reached last year by the High Court.

In early 2019 the High Court found that the Right To Rent legislation was unlawful and racially discriminatory because it caused agents and landlords to discriminate against British citizens with ethnic minorities and against foreign nationals.

The scheme was introduced in 2015 following a six-month trial in the Midlands.


Under the legislation, agents and landlords must check the immigration status of prospective tenants. An agent or landlord found to have rented to someone without the appropriate immigration status could be fined up to £3,000 and would receive a criminal prosecution.

However, yesterday the government has won an appeal and Right To Rent remains in place.

Appeal Court justices Davis, Henderson and Hickinbottom agreed that the scheme was discriminatory, but found that it did not violate human rights legislation. Now it will be for MPs and the government to decide whether the racial discrimination is ‘greater than envisaged’. 

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants was the main organisation behind the original High Court case, and Chai Patel, legal policy director for the JCWI, says: “At a time when our lives depend on our ability to stay home at home safely, ethnic minorities and foreign nationals are being forced by the government to face discrimination in finding a safety place for them and their families to live.”



He continues: “The Home Office has always maintained that this racial discrimination wasn’t caused by the scheme. Now we have two court rulings confirming that the government is causing racial discrimination in the housing market against ethnic minority British people, like the Windrush generation.”

However, immigration minister Chris Philp welcomes the decision and says: “As we have made clear throughout, the scheme ensures that only those with a legal right to be in the UK are able to access benefits and services, and discourages people from entering the country unlawfully. This is also a question of fairness to UK citizens and the many people who come to the UK legally who all need to access housing.”

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    I would not say that there is discrimination against non-British applicants, but faced with two equal applicants where one is British and one is not, I daresay that most would prefer the British applicant.

    Why are we doing the work of the Immigration staff? If there was proper immigration control at aiirports and the Border Farce was less of a taxi service in the Channel, there would be no need for us to check their status.

  • Matthew Payne

    I accept that some people from all races are racist to their core, but the Right to Rent scheme wont have made them more racist, or someone who previously very liberal now one. You would know their nationality and the colour of their skin anyway, so if those are drivers for a landlord as opposed to the usual considerations like employment or references then this legislation would have changed very little..

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    I've got to be honest, I don't think British landlords should rent to people who are illegally in the UK, surely nobody disputes that ?
    What is in dispute and I agree to an extent, is the way the R2R scheme was devised.

    Matthew Payne

    No of course not and is actually designed to prevent the illegal immigration from happening in the first place, as it creates one more obstacle for anyone overseas from thinking it would be easy to get into the UK and live there. If properly policed by landlords and agents, illegal immigration will start to drop and that would reduce the strain on the taxpayer on a lot of fronts. If you know you will have nowehere to live, no benefits, no right to NHS treatment, no job, no blockbuster video card, you are less likely to want to come here in the first place.


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