In a decision of the High Court dated 1 March 2019, Mr Justice Spencer ruled that the “Right to Rent” scheme, which requires landlords to check the immigration status of tenants introduced in England in 2016, was discriminatory and violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Justice Spencer further ruled that the scheme should not be rolled out to the rest of the United Kingdom without further evaluation. The challenge was brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI).

The “Right to Rent” scheme was trialled in the West Midlands before it was extended to all of England and requires landlords to carry out checks on prospective tenants. Failure to carry out the checks is a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment or a fine.

Do note however, this ruling will not automatically lead to a change in Government policy, and the “Right to Rent” scheme remains in force unless, and until, Parliament changes the law. Landlords in England must therefore continue to comply with the regulations until further notice. An appeal may of course follow.

More information

For more information, please contact Hilary Homfray.