The government’s controversial Right to Rent rules are facing two legal challenges.
The law demands landlords should act as immigration officers by checking if a potential tenant has the right to stay in the UK before renting them a home.
The Home Office brought in the regulations in February 2016, but there is little evidence the policy is paying off.
Pressure groups claim Right to Rent discriminates against foreigners and infringes their human rights.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants is bringing one case after research highlighted 51% of landlords said the rules would make them less likely to rent a home to someone who was not British.
“The right to rent policy is designed to encourage irregular migrants to leave the country by making them homeless,” said Chai Patel, legal policy director at JCWI.
“The problem with it, apart from the inhumanity of that proposition, is that there’s no evidence it works. The Home Office hasn’t shown that the scheme will do anything to increase voluntary departures, which have reduced since the scheme came into force.
“Worse, the scheme causes discrimination against foreign nationals even if they have immigration status. It also causes discrimination against British citizens who don’t have passports.”
The other case is supported by Camden Community Law Centre and involves a woman who has become stateless since the Home Office lost here passport when she made a visa application.
Lawyers say her home nation refuses to supply a replacement passport and that right to rent has made her situation worse because the rules are incompatible with human rights legislation.
“The government says that the right to rent policy will crack down on rogue landlords, but this case is the perfect example of how it impacts vulnerable people,” Derek Bernardi of the law centre.