Equality Commission seeks to reverse ‘right to rent’ in Scotland and Wales

Published: 17 Dec 2018

The UK government’s right to rent scheme will increase discrimination against ethnic minorities, according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The EHRC is submitting evidence to a case brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, which starts today. The case aims to prevent the UK government from rolling out the scheme to Scotland and Wales.

The scheme, which was introduced in England only in February 2016, requires all landlords to check prospective tenants to see if they have the right to live in the UK.

The scheme introduced criminal penalties for landlords who failed to do so.

The case will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on the 18th and 19th of December.

Commenting today, John Wilkes the Head of the EHRC in Scotland said:

‘We are concerned that the right to rent scheme will increase discrimination against ethnic minorities because landlords will simply avoid letting to anyone who they think could be an illegal over-stayer.

‘Because of the complexity of immigration law we are concerned that people with only limited leave to remain – who could include entrepreneurs, sponsored employees, and students – could be particularly affected.

‘The judicial review is being heard 18 to 20 December and our submissions will say that the UK government has failed to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty, which requires public bodies to ensure that all policies are non-discriminatory or that steps are taken to minimise discrimination when it is thought it may occur.  

‘Amongst our concerns are that the government has never properly monitored the scheme to see if discrimination has increased and that it has never considered not rolling out the scheme to Scotland and Wales if it were found to be.’

We will not be making any further statement on this case until the verdict has been released.

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