The Court of Appeal has agreed that the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) will be able to make written and oral submissions to the appeal lodged by the Government against the highly critical findings of a Judicial Review into the Right to Rent scheme. The views of landlords will therefore be placed front-and-centre in the high profile case that could impact the very future of the scheme.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) supported by the RLA had led a judicial review into the scheme and in early 2019 the High Court concluded that the Right to Rent scheme was discriminatory and breached human rights laws. The presiding Judge said that this discrimination would not have happened, had it not been for the Right to Rent scheme. The Government is now appealing that decision.
In a nutshell, the Right to Rent scheme requires landlords to check that all tenants who occupy their properties have legal status to live in the UK. If an individual is allowed to be in the UK, they have a right to rent. Before the start of a new tenancy, a landlord must check all adult occupiers aged 18 and over, even if they’re not named on the tenancy agreement.
Under the scheme, private residential landlords face potential imprisonment of up to five years if they know or have “reasonable cause to believe” that the property they are letting is occupied by someone who does not have the right to rent in the UK. They could also face a civil, monetary penalty.
The scheme was accused of causing race discrimination as there were widespread reports of landlords being less likely to rent to those without a British passport for fear of falling foul of the regulations and therefore being faced with potential sanctions and penalties for getting things wrong.
A date for the appeal has yet to be set; whatever the ultimate outcome, there will likely be significant repercussions both for the future of the Right to Rent scheme and for landlords.