There’s been general support for last week’s judgment by the High Court that the government’s Right To Rent policy breaches human rights.
The Residential Landlords Association, which along with the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants was central to bringing the case, has written to the government requesting a meeting on the future of the policy, which requires letting agents and landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants.
Crisis, the homelessness charity, says it is “fantastic news”. Chief executive Jon Sparkes comments that this is “the vital first step needed to scrap it altogether.”
He says: “Every day, our frontline staff hear of the overwhelming difficulties faced by homeless people trying to find a tenancy in the already saturated rental market. This is made even harder if someone has to prove their immigration status, especially as official documents like passports can often be lost sleeping rough, moving from hostel to hostel, or fleeing domestic abuse – and replacements can be prohibitively expensive.
“As a result of this policy, many landlords are avoiding renting to anyone they don’t believe to be British to avoid the threat of prosecution if they accidentally rent to the wrong person.
“This can’t carry on. No one deserves to face the devastation of homelessness – especially at a time when the crisis is worsening. The government must act now to end this policy and ensure that those in the most vulnerable circumstances are supported rather than pushed further to the fringes.”
And Tom Gatzen, co-founder of flatshare website ideal flatmate, says: “Another knee-jerk reaction by the government in an attempt to clamp down on immigration seems to have backfired yet again.
“The only saving grace is that the scheme is yet to be rolled out across the rest of the UK and we would call on the Home Office to reconsider its implementation in England.”