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Right to Rent unlawful

On Friday the High Court held that the Right to Rent is in breach of the Human Rights Act and therefore unlawful. However, despite this decision landlords and agents will need to continue with their checks as they have done in the past. We have previously posted about the JCWI’s legal challenge of the Right to Rent policy. Those posts can be read here. A full summary of the case will follow this post but for now we concentrate on what will happen next and how this decision effects landlords and agents going forward.  

The High Court has held that the Right to Rent policy is in breach of the Human Rights Act. The rationale for this decision is that the policy in its entirety leads to landlords discriminating against certain groups of tenants. However, this decision does not see the end of the Right to Rent policy but only requires the legislation to be referred back to Parliament for them to look at it afresh. For now, landlords and agents will need to continue with their Right to Rent checks.  

The Secretary of State has been granted permission to appeal this decision in the Court of Appeal. This matter is therefore by no means settled yet. If the Secretary of State succeeds in the Court of Appeal then the Right to Rent policy will continue. However, if the Secretary of State should lose then there will be the possibility of a further appeal before the Supreme Court which will take some months. 

While many landlords, agents and tenants will welcome this news it has little immediate impact on the private rental sector. It is only if Parliament makes changes as a consequence of this decision or after an appeal in the higher courts (assuming the Secretary of State loses there as well) that the sector will see an end to the Right to Rent scheme. 

Published 5 March 2019

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