The 'Right to Rent' scheme is a government policy which means landlords have to check the immigration status of prospective tenants.

It is part of the 'hostile environment' - a set of policies that aim to make life unbearably difficult in the UK for those who cannot show the right paperwork.

A 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.

Our research shows that this policy makes it harder for people of colour, and people with foreign-sounding accents or names, to rent property - as landlords, scared of making a mistake, opt for white people, British people and those with passports.

Right to Rent: It takes BME people up to twice as long to find a home to rent as a white British person

That is why we took the government to get this scheme scrapped.

Our legal challenge

We challenged the government to justify this reckless policy, which increases racial discrimination in the rental market.

First, we took our case to the High Court. We won the case, as the High Court agreed that Right to Rent causes racial discrimination, and declared it unlawful. As a result, the Government was forced to halt its plans to roll the scheme out to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  

The Government appealed, so in January 2020 we faced the Home Office in the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal agreed that the scheme causes racial discrimination. But - disappointingly - the judges stopped short of declaring the scheme unlawful, leaving it to MPs and Government to decide whether the racial discrimination is ‘greater than envisaged’. 

Working with the same team at Leigh Day who represented JCWI in the legal case, we supported the preparation of an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in January 2022. In an extremely disappointing decision in May, the ECHR deemed the appeal ‘inadmissible’. This means the court dismissed the application without examining the merits of the case, because they believe the application does not meet all the admissibility criteria. Unfortunately, these decisions cannot be challenged.

No amount of discrimination is acceptable. 

We believe this scheme must be scrapped, and we are not giving up. Leigh Day are continuing to fight the policy, and may be able to bring a new appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). 

To to this, they want to speak to people who have been affected by the Right to Rent policy.

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, please get in touch.

Join the fight for a fair, equal future

Our communities, public services and workplaces should be open to us all, where no one suffers discrimination or persecution. But hostile immigration policies mean that people who look or sound 'foreign' can be treated with suspicion. The government argues that borders are so vital, we must simply live with this discrimination. We don't accept that.

Join the campaign for a fairer Britain by adding your details below. We will keep you up to date with ways you can campaign for migrants' rights or donate to support people who are suffering simply because of their immigration status.

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