In a major judgment, the Government’s ‘Right to Rent’ scheme, which forces landlords to check potential tenants’ immigration status, has been declared to be incompatible with the Human Rights Act. Giles Peaker of Anthony Gold Solicitors acted for the Residential Landlords Association on their intervention in R(Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department. The RLA’s evidence was that the whole structure of the scheme made it a reasonable, practical choice for landlords to accept only people with the most obvious right to rent, such as a British Passport, and so the scheme effectively created discrimination. This was accepted by the court in full and was the basis for the finding that the scheme was in breach of the requirement not to cause discrimination.

The Scheme was found to be incompatible with Article 8 and Article 14 of the Human Rights Act. The Government was also ordered not to roll out the Scheme to Wales or Scotland.

The Secretary of State has been given permission to appeal, but the finding that the Right to Rent scheme effectively puts landlords in a position where it makes business sense for them to not have to go through the complexities of establishing someone’s right to rent is very clear.