The ‘Right to Rent’ scheme means landlords have to check the immigration status of prospective tenants. Any landlord who is found to have rented to someone who doesn't have the required immigration status will face a fine of up to £3,000 or a criminal sentence.

The Government hasn't considered the concerns of landlords who don't want to become border guards. And like so much else in the Hostile Environment, these rules don't account for the fact that many people won't have access to paperwork, for many reasons. What's more, the 'Right to Rent' scheme causes a real risk of discrimination - the risk that people of colour, and people with foreign-sounding accents or names, will be passed over in favour of other applicants, even if they've lived here their whole lives. That's why we took the Government to court.

Our legal challenge

Checking someone's immigration status is a complex job, and the cost of getting it wrong is high. So it's not surprising that landlords are less inclined to rent to anybody, documented or not, if they've got a foreign-sounding name or if they aren't a British citizen. In effect, the Government has created a strong incentive to discriminate. Our independent research provided evidence of these risks.

We've challenged the Government to justify this reckless policy, which increases racial discrimination in the rental market. In Spring 2019 we faced the Home Office in the High Court. We won the case, and the High Court agreed that Right to Rent causes racial discrimination. As a result, the Government was forced to halt its plans to roll the scheme out to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Read more about the High Court ruling here.

Right to Rent headlines

But the Government is appealing the decision.  

We believe the policy, and the wider Hostile Environment, must be scrapped and will fight it all the way. 

On 15 January we faced the Government at the Court of Appeal. Over the course of three-day hearing, the Court of Appeal heard from our brilliant legal team, who explained the robust evidence we gathered showing that forcing landlords to carry out immigration checks was causing racial discrimination in the housing market. You can watch the hearing on the Court of Appeal YouTube channel.

The case is now with the Judges for deliberation, and we will expect to hear their ruling in the next few months. To stay up to date on the case, join our mailing list at the foot of this page, or follow us on Twitter

Are you concerned or have you been affected?

If you're a landlord and you're worried about the Right to Rent scheme, please fill out a short survey here.

If you're a tenant or an advisor and you'd like some guidance on the scheme, download our toolkit here.

If you've faced issues renting a home as a result of the scheme, click here to share your story.