Landlords to speak out over ‘failed’ Right To Rent

Court of Appeal puts PRS landlords at the centre of latest government legal challenge to a policy the High Court says breaches human rights.

PRS landlords will get their day in court when the future for the government’s “failed” Rent To Rent scheme goes to appeal.

The Court of Appeal has agreed that the RLA can make a written and oral submission, ensuring the views of landlords are at the centre of the government’s challenge to the High Court ruling against the policy.

The government has decided to appeal against damning criticism by the High Court earlier this year that the Right To Rent breaches human rights law because it causes racial discrimination that otherwise would not happen.

Following a Judicial Review of the policy secured by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and backed by the RLA, the presiding judge concluded that discrimination by landlords was taking place “because of the Scheme”.

In his judgement he said discrimination by landlords was “logical and wholly predictable” when faced with potential sanctions and penalties for getting things wrong.

“Right To Rent has been a failure – no one has been prosecuted under the scheme, but it has created a great deal of anxiety for landlords who do not want to go to prison for getting it wrong,” said RLA policy director David Smith.

“We are disappointed that the government has chosen to appeal against what was a clear and damning verdict by the High Court.

“However, we will ensure that the views of landlords are well represented as we send a message that they should not be used to cover for the failings in the UK border agencies,” he said.

Under Right To Rent policy, private landlords face potential imprisonment of up to five years 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.

Right To Rent was introduced by Theresa May when Home Secretary as part of the Home Office’s clampdown on immigration.

Last month, the RLA, together with the JCWI and the3million, which represents EU citizens in the UK, called on Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to scrap the Right To Rent if they became Prime Minister.

The case for Right To Rent’s abolition is reinforced by a damning High Court ruling earlier this year that the policy breaches human rights law because it causes racial discrimination that otherwise would not happen.

Following a Judicial Review of the policy secured by the JCWI and supported by the RLA, the presiding judge concluded that discrimination by landlords was taking place “because of the Scheme”.

In his judgment, the presiding judge said that discrimination by landlords was “logical and wholly predictable” when faced with potential sanctions and penalties for getting things wrong.

 The chief inspector of borders and immigration also found Right To Rent had “yet to demonstrate its worth as a tool to encourage immigration compliance”.

A date for the government’s appeal has yet to be set.

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