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Saying No to the Roll Out of the Rent to Right Scheme

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Posted on May 16th 2017

Today we have launched a Crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for a legal challenge to further roll out (to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) of the Right to Rent scheme.

One of the most confounding things about the way in which policies are enacted in the UK is encapsulated by this excerpt from an article in the Evening Standard:

“A Home Office spokesman said the Right to Rent scheme deterred people from staying in the UK when they had no right to do so, adding there was no evidence that the scheme itself caused discrimination.”

What is remarkable about that argument is how effortlessly the terms of debate shift. Where we’re talking about the imposition, in the face of widespread opposition, of an extraordinarily intrusive scheme that forces untrained and unpaid landlords to carry out immigration checks on pain of a fine or imprisonment, it is enough for the Home Office to simply declare that it deters people from staying in the UK. It does not provide any evidence for that statement. The reason for this is it doesn’t have it. It hasn't been looking for it. In our 2017 report Passport Please we found no evidence, nor any system for gathering evidence, that the Right to Rent scheme actually worked to encourage migrants without status to leave the country. This is typical of so-called ‘hostile environment’ policies.

“…justification for extending the ‘hostile environment’ measures is based on the conviction that they are ‘right’ in principle, and enjoy broad public support, rather than on any evidence that the measures already introduced are working or needed to be strengthened, since no targets were set for the original measures and little had been done to evaluate them.”

David Bolt, Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration

But as soon as the debate shifts to discrimination, they are suddenly concerned about evidence. Of course, we strongly dispute the notion that there is no evidence the scheme causes discrimination. We have found evidence of this, the Home Office’s own evaluation and surveys by organisations like Shelter and the Residential Landlords Association have too. Despite this mounting evidence of discrimination we understand that a further expansion of the Right to Rent scheme to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is imminent.

Today, we are throwing down the gauntlet and requiring that the Home Office re-evaluate before expanding the scheme outside England. We are writing to the Home Secretary to state that we consider any further roll out will be unlawful unless there is a thorough evaluation of the scheme in England, looking at discrimination and at the effectiveness of the scheme itself.  

Help us hold the Government to account and force it to provide evidence for its policies through the courts by supporting our legal challenge to further roll out at:

We also need your help in promoting the case and the crowd funding appeal. You can share the page on your Facebook page by following the link to the Crowd Justice page. You can also find us on Twitter @JCWInews #StopRight2Rent #NoRollout.

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