The High Court has ruled that the ‘Right To Rent’ scheme, which prevents illegal immigrants from renting properties, violates human rights.
The scheme, which was introduced in 2016, required landlords to check the immigration status of tenants.
Mr Justice Spencer found that the scheme caused racial discrimination, and failed to have the desired effect of encouraging undocumented migrants to leave the country.
“It is my view that the Scheme introduced by the Government does not merely provide the occasion or opportunity for private landlords to discriminate but causes them to do so where otherwise they would not,” he said in his ruling.
The High Court judge added that MPs who voted for the scheme “would be aghast to learn of its discriminatory effect as shown by the evidence”.
There is no place for racism in the UK housing market.
Chai Patel, Legal Policy Director of JCWI
Challenging The ‘Right To Rent’ Scheme
A petition for the High Court to review the ruling was brought forward by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) and Liberty.
The groups heavily criticised the scheme for creating a hostile environment for immigrants and insisted that there was “no place for racism in the UK housing market”.
In a statement, the Legal Policy Director of JCWI, Chai Patel, said that Parliament “must act immediately” to scrap the scheme.
“We all know that this sort of discrimination, caused by making private individuals into border guards, affects almost every aspect of public life – it has crept into our banks, hospitals, and schools.
“Today’s judgment only reveals the tip of the iceberg and demonstrates why the Hostile Environment must be dismantled,” Patel said.
We have warned all along that turning landlords into untrained and unwilling border police would lead to the exact form of discrimination the court has found.
John Stewart, Policy Manager, Residential Landlords Association
Untrained Border Police
Credit: Jim Larrison/Flickr
Today’s judgment only reveals the tip of the iceberg and demonstrates why the Hostile Environment must be dismantled.
Chai Patel, Legal Policy Director, JCWI
John Stewart, Policy Manager for the Residential Landlords Association, added that the ruling “is a damning critique of a flagship Government policy”.
“We have warned all along that turning landlords into untrained and unwilling border police would lead to the exact form of discrimination the court has found.
“We call on the Government to accept the decision, scrap the Right to Rent, and consider what else can be done to sensibly manage migration, without having to rely on untrained landlords to do the job of the Home Office,” Stewart said.
The Right to Rent scheme was introduced as part of the Immigration Act 2016, which created major revisions in the immigration system.
The act made it illegal for employers to hire illegal immigrants, enabled the government to freeze the bank accounts and suspend the drivers’ licenses of illegal immigrants and extended the ‘deport first, appeal later’ scheme to be applicable to all migrants.