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Call for evidence on ‘Right to Rent’ scheme


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David Bolt, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, is inspecting the Right to Rent measures in the 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts. These require landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants before renting them a home.

The Right to Rent scheme forms part of the hostile environment that the government has aimed to create for migrants without valid leave.

The specific questions which the Chief Inspector will deal with are as follows:

  • planning for the initial introduction of RtR, including success criteria, and the identification and mitigation of risks and issues
  • evaluation of Phase 1 of the Right to Rent (rolled out in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton from 1 December 2014) and how this informed the development of the Right to Rent, including sanctions for non-compliance
  • evaluation of Right to Rent sanctions (introduced from 1 December 2016)
  • take up of Right to Rent measures by Home Office enforcement and casework teams, specifically the issuing of civil penalties, pursuit of criminal prosecutions, immigration controls and removals
  • joint working and data-sharing between the Home Office and other government departments, agencies and other bodies

This blog has previously pointed out that the hostile environment not only affects those without leave. Lawful migrants, ethnic minorities, young people and women are disproportionately affected by the hostile environment.

But the inspection will not examine these so-called “unintended consequences” of the Right to Rent scheme. Any evidence of discrimination against would-be tenants, increased homelessness or displacement will fall beyond the scope of the inspection.

The Chief Inspector did note the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants’ Passport Please report, and suggested that these consequences will be looked into in future reports over the next couple of years. So hold fire on these important matters until then.

If you do wish to contribute written evidence to this inspection, it would be sensible to address each bullet point in turn, so that your structure mirrors the likely structure of the report. This may help increase the likelihood that your submission will assist the Chief Inspector and have the intended impact.

Previous Free Movement blogs on the topic of the Right to Rent, which may be interesting to read regardless of whether you wish to contribute evidence to the report, include:

If you do have knowledge or experience of the Right to Rent scheme, the place to address written submissions is chiefinspector@icinspector.gsi.gov.uk. The deadline for evidence is 10 November 2017.

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