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Challenging the Right to Rent scheme

Last month the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) wrote to the Home Secretary challenging the decision to roll out the Right to Rent scheme to Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

The Right to Rent scheme places a positive obligation on landlords to ensure that they do not rent to people who do not have the right to rent. They must carry out immigration checks on tenants or occupiers prior to entering into any tenancy agreement to protect themselves from the possibility of a fine. At present the scheme only applies to England however the government intends to roll out the scheme to Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

The JCWI has argued that prior to rolling out the Right to Rent scheme the Government should address evidence that the scheme leads to discrimination against foreign nationals, British Citizens without a passport, and British citizens from minority communities. In fact, following a mystery shopping exercise the JCWI found that a British minority tenant without a passport was ignored or turned down by 58% of landlords.

The letter sent to the Home Secretary demands that prior to rolling out the Right to Rent scheme to the devolved regions a full evaluation of the scheme should be carried out with the results published to demonstrate its efficacy and cost-effectiveness, and non-discriminatory impact. JCWI has threatened further legal action should the Government fail to respond adequately or continues with the roll out. Given the expected election outcome this does seem fairly inevitable.

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