The Home Office has announced that it plans to reassess its Right to Rent scheme that requires landlords in England to check the immigration status of their tenants after the High Court ruled last week that the legislation is discriminatory and breaches human rights laws.
The Right to Rent scheme, introduced in England in 2016 following an initial pilot scheme in the West Midlands, requires landlords to check the immigration status of tenants.
The Home Office wants to roll the scheme out in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but judges said that this will now not be possible without further evaluation, as the evidence “strongly showed” that the existing policy is causing landlords to discriminate against potential tenants because of their nationality and ethnicity.
The challenge was brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), which has long maintained that the policy could lead to indirect discrimination, with landlords forced to act as what it describes as ‘border police’.
In a statement to the House of Commons, the minister of state for immigration, Caroline Nokes MP, said her department disagreed with the High Court judgement handed down on 1 March, which found that rolling the legislation out to devolved territories without further evaluation would breach the Equality Act.
Nokes said the ruling had no immediate effect on the policy and that landlords in England must still abide by the existing rules, which means they must continue to conduct Right to Rent checks.
However, she said the Home Office was “looking at options for a further evaluation of the operation of the scheme”.
In the meantime, the Home Office has been given consent to appeal ‘all aspects of the judgement’, as stated in Nokes’ statement.