Government wins Right to Rent appeal

Government wins Right to Rent appeal

The government has won its appeal against last year's High Court decision that the Right to Rent policy is unlawful.

In March 2019 the High Court found that the scheme was unlawful and racially discriminatory because it caused agents and landlords to discriminate against British citizens with ethnic minorities and against foreign nationals.

Under the legislation, which was introduced in 2015, agents and landlords must check the immigration status of prospective tenants. An agent or landlord found to have rented to someone without the appropriate immigration status could be fined up to £3,000 and would receive a criminal prosecution.

However, yesterday the government has won an appeal and Right To Rent remains in place.

Appeal Court justices Davis, Henderson and Hickinbottom agreed that the scheme was discriminatory, but found that it did not violate human rights legislation. Now it will be for MPs and the government to decide whether the racial discrimination is 'greater than envisaged'.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants was the main organisation behind the original High Court case. Chai Patel, legal policy director for the JCWI, says: "At a time when our lives depend on our ability to stay at home safely, ethnic minorities and foreign nationals are being forced by the government to face discrimination in finding a safe place for them and their families to live. The Home Office has always maintained that this racial discrimination wasn't caused by the scheme. Now we have two court rulings confirming that the government is causing racial discrimination in the housing market against ethnic minority British people, like the Windrush generation."

However, immigration minister Chris Philp welcomes the decision and says: "As we have made clear throughout, the scheme ensures that only those with a legal right to be in the UK are able to access benefits and services, and discourages people from entering the country unlawfully. This is also a question of fairness to UK citizens and the many people who come to the UK legally who all need to access housing."


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