court of law

On 21 April 2020 the Court of Appeal allowed the Government’s appeal against last year’s High Court decision which found the Right to Rent checks were discriminatory.

The Court did find that the requirement may result in discrimination but that overall the scheme is justified.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (who brought the original case) has indicated its intention to appeal the matter to the Supreme Court.

What this means for Landlords

There is essentially no change in the checks that Landlords should be undertaking prior to offering a tenancy.

Landlords must undertake Right to Rent checks on prospective tenants to ensure they are permitted to rent residential property in England (the legislation does not apply to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland).

The Government’s procedure and the documents that maybe used to evidence entitlement are here.

When copying and retaining documents Landlords must also ensure they have complied with data protection requirements.

Implications of not undertaking the Right to Rent checks

Failure to undertake the required checks can lead to a criminal prosecution and if convicted a fine or prison sentence. Since 6 April 2018 the relevant local authority may also apply for the Landlord to be made subject of a banning order after conviction. This can have wider implications, as covered in this article here.

The Right to Rent checks are of course in addition to the other procedural requirements that must be undertaken prior to arranging a tenancy with a view to protecting the property, enabling valid S21 notices to be served if required and ensuring landlords are not at risk of civil or criminal penalties.