Right to Rent scheme is to be challenged in court this week. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) is seeking a judicial review claiming that the policy is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and must be reviewed because it encourages “systemic discrimination” against people of ethnic minority and those without British passports.
The Right to Rent scheme requires landlords and agents to check the immigration status of all prospective tenants and refuse a tenancy to irregular migrants. If they fail to fully comply with the scheme they face a fine of up to £3,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years.
JCWI claims that the scheme is causing serious discrimination as landlords seem reluctant to rent to those without a UK passport.
Research by the JCWI has found that:
Phillippa Kaufmann QC, who is representing JCWI, said:
“Landlords are incentivised by the very nature of the scheme to go down the path of least resistance.
“If they have someone who comes to them with a British passport, they know they are at no risk of criminal liability.
“JCWI argues that the government is not in any position to justify this policy because it has not gathered any evidence that its ‘hostile environment’ is having any effect – that is, the desired effect of prompting illegal migrants to leave, rather than going underground to be exploited by rogue landlords.
“It can’t show that it is achieving that end, and it can’t show it has given any consideration of the unintended impact it is having.”