On 1 March 2019, the High Court ruled that the Government’s Right to Rent scheme is unfair and in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Right to Rent scheme was a dominant part of the Hostile Environment policy, published when Theresa May was Home Secretary.
What is the right to rent?
The Right to Rent Scheme, introduced on 1 February 2016 under The Immigration Act 2014, needs landlords to conduct checks that all tenants who inhabit their properties have legal status to live in the UK.
People who are not allowed to be here do not have a right to rent. If such checks are not made and the occupier has no Right to Rent, there may be a civil penalty to pay. Civil penalties may be forced on those private landlords who rent out premises to illegal migrants without making appropriate checks. Where a landlord can demonstrate that they commenced stated checks concerning the migrant’s status before giving them rights of occupation, they will have a ‘statutory excuse’ to avoid liability for a civil penalty.
Who should be checked?
Landlords, agents and householders should check that all adults who will live in the property have a right to rent in the UK. This includes everyone over the age of 18, regardless of their nationality, whether they will use the property as their only or main home, even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement and regardless of whether the tenancy agreement is written, oral or implied.
Who should make right to rent checks?
Right to rent checks should be made by landlords, agents or householders who are letting private rented accommodation, or taking in a lodger. Anyone who lives in a property as a tenant or occupier, and sub-lets all or part of the property, or takes in a lodger, should also make the checks. This applies to people living in both private and social housing.
Any landlord who breaches this legislation will receive a fine of £3000 per illegal occupant. It is therefore highly important to establish and maintain mandatory checks outlined.
How and when to check the ‘right to rent’
As part of the checking process a landlord must see:
Either one of the following –
- A passport or identity card from an EEA country of UK
- UK immigration status document endorsed with unlimited leave
Or two of the following –
- UK Driving licence
- UK birth certificate
- Evidence of current or previous service in UK armed forces
- Benefits paperwork
Recent scrutiny on Right to Rent
Theresa May’s “hostile environment” immigration policy has been declared incompatible with human rights law in a damning ruling handed down at the high court.
Mr Justice Martin Spencer said the scheme, introduced in 2016 causes landlords to discriminate against people who do not hold a British passport. In a strongly worded judgement given in London on Friday 1st March. He ruled that the scheme breaches human rights laws and said discrimination was a “logical consequence” of the policy. The judge found that the right to rent checks had little to no effect on controlling immigration.
To discuss the Right to Rent Scheme and obtain the correct advise in order to avoid penalties, contact JMR Solicitors on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 491 3933. We are specialists in Landlord and Tenant disputes.