The ‘right to rent’ scheme requires landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants. If a landlord is found to have rented a property to an adult who does not have the required immigration status, they could face a fine of up to £3,000 or, from December 2016, a criminal sentence.

Like so much else in the Hostile Environment, these rules don't take into account the fact that, for many reasons, many people won't have access to paperwork. And they don't really consider the concerns of landlords who don't want to become border guards. And they don't adequately consider the real risks of discrimination - the risk that people of colour, people with accents and people with foreign names will be asked to prove their immigration status even if they've lived here their whole lives. 

Destitution by design

Under the Right to Rent scheme, people who can't prove their status will be faced with homelessness or left at the mercy of unscrupulous and unregulated landlords. And there are many reasons why somebody might not be able to prove their status. They might have escaped domestic violence. They might have been priced out of the immigration system by extortionate fees and therefore lost their status. They might have received an incorrect or unfair decision from the Home Office but been unable to leave because their life is here. Or they may just have a complex type of status that a landlord can't reasonably be expected to understand. It's cruel and unfair to punish them for this.

Forcing landlords to discriminate

It's simply not reasonable to expect landlords to also work as border guards. 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 evaluation of the Right to Rent demonstrated these risks (download it here).

Our Legal Challenge

We repeatedly warned the government about the risks. But they've decided to press ahead with rolling the scheme out across the rest of the UK (right now it's only in force in England). That's why we're taking them to court. Read more about our legal challenge here.

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.