The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants brought a challenge to the “right to rent” scheme arguing that it was incompatible with Art.14 (taken with Art.8), ECHR as it caused landlords to discriminate against potential tenants on the basis of race and nationality. The scheme operates by prohibiting landlords from allowing persons who do not have the “right to rent” from occupying private rented accommodation. There are significant civil and criminal penalties on landlords for non-compliance with the scheme.
The High Court held that scheme was unlawfully discriminatory. The evidence showed that landlords were positively and rationally driven to discriminate where they would not otherwise wish to do so. The discrimination was incapable of justification. The High Court granted a declaration of incompatibility and declared that the scheme could not be extended to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland without significant remedial work.