On Friday I read the breaking news that the High Court had, in the wake of the challenge from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, decided that the government’s flagship “Right to Rent” legislation was a breach of human rights and prohibited them from rolling it out across the rest of the UK.
The genesis of the right to rent checks idea was infected from the outset by racist dogma, in keeping with the government’s “Hostile environment” ethos created by Theresa May when she was the Home Secretary. Which is still resulting in many immigrants and their children from the Windrush generation being deported to countries they may not have any ties with.
Lest you need reminding
The Right to Rent is that daft idea that turns landlords into immigration inspectors, on pain of financial penalties and even criminal prosecution should they get it wrong.
All of which led to many landlords taking the view that in order to avoid being criminalised, they would simply choose not to rent to anyone who they might suspect of being a problem. And I do understand that viewpoint.
Mr Justice Spencer commented that the scheme:-
“does not merely provide the occasion or opportunity for private landlords to discriminate but causes them to do so where otherwise they would not, such discrimination by landlords a being logical and wholly predicable when faced with potential sanctions and penalties for getting things wrong”.
And putting her foot squarely on the issues, lawyer Lara Ten Clayton of Liberty said:-
“While effective immigration control is a legitimate aim for any government, the Home Office must stop outsourcing its discriminatory policies to third parties who are ill-equipped to enforce them but may be slapped with heavy fines and even end up in prison if they don’t,”
Speaking from experience
What my outfit, Safer Renting has been finding is that far from discouraging illegal immigrants, all the Right to Rent has done is provide a nice crop of vulnerable and often lawful tenants, shunned by normal landlords for fear of being imprisoned, being forced into the waiting arms of rogue landlords and agents who don’t give a toss about any penalties because they run their lettings businesses as criminal enterprises.
Such people routinely use aliases and fake companies to avoid detection and have no reservations about letting to people who have been spurned by a conventional but understandably nervous landlord market
As I have written before, all the right to rent has done is feed an underground, criminal market, in exactly the same way that prohibition in the 1920s led directly to bootlegging and racketeering.
Ordinary landlords, like ordinary citizens, don’t want to be criminalised but the criminal elements in any area of life are all too ready to exploit weaknesses and opportunities for financial profit.
Government is said to be ‘Disappointed’ and is seeking to appeal.
A bit of history is handy here
The government came up with this plan shortly before the last general election and trialled it in 5 areas in the Midlands over a 6 month period, which ended handily right at the time of the general election, meaning they could walk away on the farrago if they lost and usher it in if they won.
They won and they announced they would make it law, even without bothering to evaluate the findings.
Now, this latest decision bars the government from rolling it out across Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland without proper evaluation.
Whilst not the full-on body blow of being declared wholly illegal and being scrapped – it has put a serious cramp on the government’s style and well done to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants for taking this forward.
But what now?
But while the government appeals and carry out their evaluation we are all still stuck with it.
People here in the UK entirely legitimately but having the unfortunate problem of not having a surname like Tufton-Bufton Smythe, will continue to face problems finding somewhere to rent, while the criminals out there are still rubbing their hands with glee.
Cramming more people into even smaller areas and doubling their rental income, knowing that the poor buggers have little choice. But at least renters in Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland are protected from this nonsense.