Home > News > R (JCWI) v Secretary of State [2020] EWCA Civ 542

The Right to Rent scheme (Immigration Acts 2014 and 2016) provides that residential landlords who rent homes to people without a “right to rent” are guilty of a criminal offence and risk up to five years imprisonment. They may, alternatively, face a civil penalty imposed by the Secretary of State, who can also (in effect) compel them to evict their tenant. There are also wider regulatory consequences of breaching the Right to Rent provisions (e.g. a banning order may be made under the Housing and Planning Act 2016) and it is likely to be a breach of their mortgage terms. The High Court held that the scheme was causing landlords to discriminate against prospective tenants and that the discrimination was unlawful ([2019] EWHC 452 (Admin); [2019] HLR 35). The Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal by the Secretary of State. Any discrimination was justified. The legislation had been debated at length in Parliament and landlords had been given guidance on how to avoid unlawful discrimination.

Justin Bates and Brooke Lyne acted for the National Residential Landlords Association, which intervened in the High Court and Court of Appeal. The judgment is available here.

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