The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (“JCWI”) has been granted permission to pursue a judicial review that will challenge the legality of the government’s Right to Rent rules.

Stephen Small Russell-Cooke

Stephen Small, senior associate at Russell-Cooke

If successful, the review could lead to the government having to change legislation substantially or even to Right to Rent checks being scrapped.

Since 1 February 2016, almost all landlords of residential property in England have been obliged to undertake checks on prospective tenants and other adult occupiers of their property to establish whether they have the Right to Rent.

The obligation to undertake Right to Rent checks has attracted criticism from all angles. Many landlords have been unhappy with the requirements imposed upon them and the threat of severe sanctions if they fail to comply. Tenants have had to endure increased scrutiny from prospective landlords and those with names of a foreign origin have reported that landlords seem to be less willing to let property to them.

Man with keys

Right to Rent checks have attracted criticism from all angles

Source: Shutterstock/Kzenon

Indeed, the JCWI has complained that the policy promotes discrimination by landlords, who it says will naturally seek to rent their property to individuals they deem to be more likely to have the Right to Rent. Adding to the mounting criticism, David Bolt, the independent chief inspector of borders and Immigration recently published a 50 page report looking into the Right to Rent policy that concluded that it had not “demonstrated its worth as a tool to encourage immigration compliance”.

The increasing resistance to and criticism of Right to Rent, together with the new Home Secretary’s much anticipated change of approach to immigration policy likely means that the writing is on the wall for the long term future of Right to Rent checks in their current guise. That will be of little solace for landlords and their prospective tenants, who for now will have to continue to comply with a policy that increasingly looks dead in the water.