Right to rent checks lead to discrimination

Most people who want to rent a property must prove they have the right to live in the UK. If they cannot provide that proof, as a result, they will not be able to rent. Since 2016 landlords have been required to conduct Right to Rent checks. They face steep penalties if they rent to someone who is in the UK illegally. Therefore it seems that fear of these penalties has led landlords to be wary letting to people who are not British.

A High Court Judge has now told the government, in no uncertain terms, that the Right to Rent checks lead to discrimination on grounds of race and nationality. In addition, they are in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case was brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. It presented wide ranging and well researched evidence that landlords were discriminating against anyone without a British passport and with a foreign sounding name. Subsequently, in an extensive survey, landlords confirmed this to be the case.

Now we wait to see what the government will do. It carried out virtually no research of its own before or after the introduction of the legislation in 2016 to ensure that these measures were not discriminatory. The Judge says that it was easy to foresee that the checks could lead to discrimination.

John Stewart of the Residential Landlords Association is wary of the potential for discrimination in Right to Rent checks.
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