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Right to Rent breaches human rights law and fuels racism, High Court rules
4.3.19
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"The Right to Rent scheme is a vehicle for racism and xenophobia, a High Court judge has ruled.

Under the initiative, introduced in 2015, landlords are responsible for checking tenants’ immigration statuses, and are told they could be prosecuted if they have even reasonable cause to believe they are letting a property to someone without the right to rent in the UK.

Campaigners said the requirement turns landlords into “untrained border police”.

The scheme, which Mr Justice Spencer said breaches human rights law, was introduced by Theresa May as Home Secretary as part of the government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy package designed to target illegal immigrants."

See: Right to Rent breaches human rights law and fuels racism, High Court rules (Big Issue, link)

The government has announced its intention to appeal (gov.uk, link), saying:

"We are disappointed with the judgment and we have been granted permission to appeal, which reflects the important points of law that were considered in the case. In the meantime, we are giving careful consideration to the judge’s comments."

The full judgment provides an excellent overview of the history and workings of the scheme: Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWHC 452 (Admin) (01 March 2019) (pdf)

One of the concluding paragraphs notes:

"...the measures have a disproportionately discriminatory effect and I would assume and hope that those legislators who voted in favour of the Scheme would be aghast to learn of its discriminatory effect as shown by the evidence set out in, for example, paragraph 94 above. Even if the Scheme had been shown to be efficacious in playing its part in the control of immigration, I would have found that this was significantly outweighed by the discriminatory effect. But the nail in the coffin of justification is that, on the evidence I have seen, the Scheme has had little or no effect [on reducing irregular migration] and, as Miss Kaufmann submitted, the Defendant has put in place no reliable system for evaluating the efficacy of the Scheme: see paragraphs 111 and 112 above, which, again, I accept."

Analysis: High Court finds Right to Rent checks discriminatory in landmark judgment (Free Movement, link):

"There was a huge amount of evidence presented by the claimants and interveners to show that the effect of the Right to Rent scheme is discriminatory. Yet the Home Office failed to test for nationality discrimination at all in the pilot and was carrying out zero monitoring of the scheme."

And: JCWI: how we beat the hostile environment in court (Free Movement, link):

"Today, the High Court has ruled that the ‘Right to Rent’ checks, a key policy of Theresa May’s so-called “hostile”, now rebranded as “compliant environment”, cause landlords to discriminate against prospective tenants on racial and nationality grounds.

Mr Justice Martin Spencer has handed down a damning verdict excoriating the government, saying that the scheme not merely risks causing illegal discrimination, but is certain to do so, as would any scheme of this kind. Furthermore, the judge found that the government has “not come close” to justifying the discriminatory impact of the scheme, especially since it had failed to collect any data demonstrating that it actually works in its stated aim: making undocumented migrants leave the country. "

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