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Right to Rent comes under fire from two directions

Thursday 07 June 2018

The government’s controversial Right to Rent policy has come under attack twice this week with a cross-party group of MPs writing to the Home Secretary and a judicial review.

The letter, signed by MPs from the Labour, Liberal Democrat, Scottish National, Plaid Cymru and Green parties, followed a High Court challenge from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. 

The MPs wrote: “The Windrush scandal has drawn attention to the effects of the so-called hostile environment... It also provides a stark warning of the consequences that can be expected when ministers and officials fail to respond to the repeated warnings of experts about the impact of their policies.”

If the scheme must remain, the MPs wrote, it should be urgently amended to implement recommendations set out by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, who said Right To Rent “had yet to demonstrate its worth as a tool to encourage immigration compliance.”

The Home Office says it conducted extensive consultations before introducing Right To Rent and added: “We noted the Independent Chief Inspectors’ recommendations on the  Right To Rent scheme and we continue to take steps to ensure it is implemented and communicated as effectively as possible.”

On Wednesday, the High Court agreed to allow a judicial review of the government’s Right to Rent policy.

The Residential Landlords Association supported an application by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants in the High Court for a Judicial Review of the policy. 

Both organisations argued that the policy discriminated against foreign nationals, especially those, such as the Windrush generation, who cannot easily prove their right to remain in the UK.

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “Landlords will welcome the High Court decision to allow a judicial review of the Right to Rent policy which has put them in the impossible position of acting as untrained Border Police trying to ascertain who does and who does not have the right to be in the country. 

"This has created difficulties for many legitimate tenants as landlords are forced to play safe and only rent to those with a UK passport.

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