Conservative Party leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are being urged to scrap the Right to Rent scheme, according to a recent press release from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
A coalition made up of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), the3million, which represents EU citizens in the UK, and the RLA, have united to call for the abolition of the controversial scheme.
This comes after the High Court ruled that the policy discriminates against British ethnic minorities.
Scheme ruled as discriminatory
The scheme, introduced by Theresa May while she was Home Secretary, was part of the Home Office’s “Hostile Environment” measures. Under this policy, private landlords face up to five years of potential imprisonment, if they know or have “reasonable cause to believe” that their property is occupied by someone who does not have the right to rent in the UK.
After a Judicial Review, secured by the JCWI and supported by the RLA, the presiding judge concluded that discrimination by landlords was indeed taking place due to the scheme. The judge added that it was “logically and wholly” predictable that discrimination would occur for those facing potential sanctions and penalties for getting things wrong, the RLA reported.
David Smith, policy director for the RLA, commented: “The Right to Rent has been a failure. No one has been prosecuted under the scheme but it has created a great deal of anxiety for landlords who do not want to go to prison for getting it wrong. Landlords should not be used to cover for the failings in the UK Border Agencies.”
Nicolas Hatton, CEO of the3million said: “Two-thirds of EU citizens in the UK live in private rented housing and will be affected if this failed scheme continues. We are already seeing that landlords are less likely to rent to anyone without a British passport, and uncertainty about Brexit added to the hostile environment will only increase the discrimination EU citizens are facing.”
Mr Hatton concluded: “We urge the UK Government to scrap this scheme and end the discrimination.”
Humanity and rights are tossed aside
Chai Patel, legal policy director of the JCWI, commented: “The Home Office is now arguing in its appeal that it is justified in causing racial discrimination against British ethnic minority families struggling to find a home. It is arguing that ‘black and brown’ British people’s dignity, humanity, and rights can be tossed aside to pursue Theresa May’s Hostile Environment.”
Mr Patel concluded: “That cannot be acceptable in modern Britain. The new Prime Minister must commit to ending landlord immigration checks, and the discrimination they cause.”