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Continue to carry out Right to Rent checks

Monday 18 March 2019

In a letter from Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State for Immigration, to ARLA Propertymark dated 15 March 2019 the Government has confirmed that there are no immediate changes to the operation of the Right to Rent policy and landlords and letting agents are still obliged to conduct checks as required in legislation.

The letter was sent following the High Court’s judgment that the Right to Rent Scheme, introduced by the Immigration Act 2014 is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The letter outlines that the Government disagrees with the finding and the Home Office has been granted permission to appeal all aspects of the judgment.

The Minister then outlines, “There are no immediate changes to the operation of the policy. Landlords and letting agents are still obliged to conduct Right to Rent checks as required in legislation and they must not discriminate against anyone on the basis of their colour or where they come from.”

Letting agents should continue to establish who will live in the property and obtain, check and copy one or more original documents that demonstrate the Right to Rent in the UK for all adult occupiers for that property in the presence of the holder.

When the ruling was announced ARLA Propertymark said that we have long called for clarity for the Right to Rent scheme in the interests of tenants, landlords and letting agents. We are urgently calling on government now to provide clarity before any further steps are taken in relation to freedom of movement post Brexit, or phase 3 rollout.

The letter from Minister of State for Immigration says that the Government are considering options for further evaluation and monitoring of the Scheme and the Home Secretary has written to Wendy Williams, who is heading up the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, to draw the Court’s findings to her attention.

Furthermore, the Government’s Right to Rent Consultative Panel will meet again on 24 April to look at the operation of the Scheme and how to evaluate its impact on the behaviour of landlords and lettings agents. ARLA Propertymark is a member of the Panel and will be attending to represent members’ views.

Scotland

In a further development, Scotland’s Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP has written to Caroline Nokes, Minister of State for Immigration, asking for a meeting to discuss the consequences of the ruling for Scotland. Under the original scheme, Right to Rent was due to be rolled out to include all adult occupiers in rented accommodation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland under phase 3 of the scheme.

Currently letting agents and landlords are not required to carry out Right to Rent checks on properties in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. When asked about phase 3 rollout at the most recent meeting of the Right to Rent Consultative Panel on 11 October 2018, the Minister replied that no decision had been taken at that stage.

Read the full text of the letter from Kevin Stewart MSP to the Immigration Minister here

Members can log into the members’ area to find two unique Fact Sheets explaining the Right to Rent Immigration Checks and the Immigration Act 2016.