As a result of failing to meet obligations under the Right to Rent scheme, over 400 landlords have been fined by the Home Office.
As outlined by GOV.UK, the Right to Rent Scheme means that landlords need to carry out quick and simple checks on all new tenants to make sure they have the right to rent property in the country.
Since these Right to Rent rules were introduced, just two years ago, no fewer than 405 landlords have defied these rules, collectively receiving fines accumulating to £265,000, according to the Home Office figures.
The policy, which requires landlords to check whether potential tenants have a right to live in the UK will apparently face scrutiny during this week when a judicial review application hearing, brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), will be heard on the grounds that the strategy is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
In a recent report on the scheme, David Bolt, Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, concludes the policy has “yet to demonstrate its worth as a tool to encourage immigration compliance” and that the Home Office is “failing to coordinate, maximise or even measure effectively its use, while at the same time doing little to address the concerns of stakeholders.”
RLA Policy Director, David Smith has said: “Faced with the fear of criminal sanctions many landlords are understandably playing it safe.”
“It is absurd to conduct a review of the scheme without looking at all the consequences. That is why it is vital that the Home Office suspends the scheme pending a full and detailed assessment of its impact on tenants and prospective tenants.”
David Smith has also said: “The Windrush scandal has shown that even trained immigration officers can make serious mistakes. This highlights how inappropriate it is to demand that untrained landlords become enforcers of government immigration policy.
“Those who cannot easily prove their right to rent with documents landlords are clearly familiar with are finding it increasingly difficult to access the homes they need.
“In reality the Right to Rent is creating a hostile environment for those who need, and are legally entitled to, housing in the UK but cannot easily prove it. This is causing needless tension and concern for tenants and landlords.
“It is time to suspend this controversial and unwelcome policy.”
Chai Patel, Legal Policy Director at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, commented: “When asked for evidence that the hostile environment was working, Amber Rudd could only point to ‘anecdotes’. Sajid Javid said there were no measures in place ‘as such’ to evaluate it. We’re talking about the policies that inflicted so much harm on the Windrush generation, and our Home Secretaries are operating in the dark. But even now, the Home Office is opposing the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s strong recommendation that right to rent be independently evaluated.
“The Right to Rent scheme imposes costly red tape on every landlord in the UK, and the government has no evidence it’s working. Meanwhile, landlords themselves tell us it encourages them to discriminate against foreign nationals. Denying individuals, the right to rent property only increases the power of exploitative rogue landlords and employers. We have been forced to bring this legal challenge because Theresa May and Amber Rudd would not listen to the evidence. We hope Sajid Javid takes a more rational view.”