Government Inspector Slams Ineffective Right to Rent Policy

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A government inspector has slammed the controversial ‘Right to Rent’ policy, claiming that it has ‘failed to demonstrate its worth’ through encouraging immigration compliance.

Independent chief inspector of Borders and Immigration David Bolt has condemned the scheme, which requires that landlords check the immigration status of new tenants. The scheme has had the unsavoury side effect of leaving many landlords reluctant to rent to those without a UK passport for fear of being imprisoned through non compliance.

In a foreword to his report on the scheme government inspector David Bolt argued that the policy has ‘yet to demonstrate its worth as a tool to encourage immigration compliance’ and that the Home Office is ‘failing to coordinate, maximise or even measure effectively its use, while at the same time doing little to address the concerns of stakeholders.’

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) is seeking a Judicial Review of the policy, with the support of various trade bodies including the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

Legal policy director at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, Chai Patel, said: ‘It’s disgraceful that the Home Office has refused to properly evaluate whether or not the right to rent scheme is actually working to reduce irregular migration. They have no idea. Unsurprisingly the Home Office has also refused to allow groups representing the migrants and ethnic minorities affected by this discriminatory scheme to sit on its consultative panel. It’s time for Amber Rudd to put an end to this divisive mess of a policy that forces landlords to act as immigration officials. Until she does, we will continue to challenge it in the courts.’

The RLA argues that Right to Rent ought to be suspended pending a full evaluation of its impact. The trade body is especially concerned about those who cannot easily provide their identity, and the impact the scheme has on their being able to rent a property.

Director of policy for the RLA, commented: ‘The report is a damning critique of a failing policy. The Inspector is clear that it has yet to demonstrate its worth and the Government has failed to take on board the concerns of key stakeholders in the sector. Landlords should not be used as scapegoats for the failures of the border agencies. It is time to suspend this controversial and unwelcome policy.’

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