Right to rent checks and human rights
The Court of Appeal has recently dealt with the question of whether right to rent checks (that landlords are required to complete at the start of letting) were a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”).
There had been uncertainty since March last year (our brief report on the High Court decision can be found here). Since implementation of the Immigration Act 2014 in 2016, private landlords are required to check the status of all prospective tenants to ensure they are British citizens or have the legal right to remain in the UK . The High Court concluded that these checks cause discrimination on the base of race and contravened the Human Rights Act 1998 and the ECHR.
The decision was appealed by the Government to the Court of Appeal. Although the Court found that there was an increase in the risk of discrimination, the scheme was a ‘proportionate means of achieving its legitimate objective’.
The Court of Appeal has therefore confirmed that the right to rent scheme is proportionate and justified and landlords could face fines and criminal liability for failing to comply with their obligations.
If you are a residential landlord or letting agent and require further advice or guidance, please contact Emma Webb on Emma.Webb@GAsolicitors.com or 01752 513539.