Home Office Reconvenes Rental Sector Stakeholder Panel

The Home Office is to reconvene its Private Rental Sector Stakeholder Panel on Right to Rent.

This follows a controversial period for the Right To Rent measure, which faces a challenge in the High Court just before Christmas.

It was announced in early June that a charity, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, had obtained permission to challenge Right To Rent in court – it is supported by the Residential Landlords Association.

This is the challenge that will be heard on December 18 and 19.

David Smith, RLA policy director, says of the reconvening of the Private Rental Sector Stakeholder Panel: “While we welcome the news the Home Office is keen to re-engage with the sector, we want to see them take bold action. Would-be tenants who are legally entitled to live in the UK, but struggle to prove it, are being denied homes and we believe the time has come to suspend this unfair scheme.”

Right To Rent was introduced in England in February 2016 under the 2014 Immigration Act, but is yet to be implemented in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

The basis of the challenge in December is that the checks allegedly cause discrimination on grounds of race and nationality and therefore breach the Human Rights Act, and that they should be reversed before any roll out across the whole of the UK.

All private landlords, or agents acting on their behalf, must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent a residential property in England. The policy also affects commercial landlords and agents if they handle mixed use properties, such as flats above shops.

It has been controversial from the start and the RLA has been the trade body most forceful in its concerns that the policy could lead to indirect discrimination, with landlords – forced to act as ‘border police’ – likely to play it safe when it comes to renting out their homes.

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