Government commits to introducing procedural safeguards in Right to Rent scheme, following submissions by Liberty
Following its decision in R (JCWI) v SSHD  EWHC 452 (Admin) – that the Government’s ‘Right to Rent’ scheme causes unlawful discrimination – the High Court handed down judgment this morning in R (Goloshvili) v SSHD  EWHC 614 (Admin), a case brought by a tenant facing eviction under the scheme which was heard alongside the JCWI case in December.
Martin Westgate QC, James Kirk and Daniel Clarke were instructed by Liberty as intervener (as in the JCWI case), to make submissions in relation to the fairness of the procedure applying to tenants in Ms Goloshvili’s position.
In written submissions to the Court, Liberty argued that it was a breach of basic requirements of fairness for the Home Office to serve a notice on a landlord saying that a tenant does not have the right to rent (and so, effectively, requiring the landlord to evict him/her), without first informing the tenant and allowing him/her to make representations. This point was reinforced by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly given that the Right to Rent scheme allows some tenants to be evicted without a court order.
Despite filing written submissions in opposition to Liberty’s position, on the first day of the hearing, the Home Secretary indicated to the Court that he would introduce a new procedure allowing tenants 28 days to make representations before a notice is served. As a result, Liberty did not participate in the remainder of the case (Ms Goloshvili continued with the claim on another ground, which was dismissed in today’s judgment).
In light of the indication – formally recorded in a recital to the Court’s order – even if the Home Office does not scrap the Right to Rent scheme in light of the JCWI judgment, it should now take steps to remedy the unfair way in which the scheme operates in relation to tenants facing eviction.
The full recital to the order reads:
AND UPON the Defendant informing the Claimant that he intends (and intends to reflect this practice in his guidance), in relation to tenants upon whose landlords the Defendant proposes to serve a notice under section 33D of the Immigration Act 2014, not to serve such a notice in the case of a tenant without first: (a) notifying the tenant in writing (i) of the proposal to serve such a notice, (ii) that he has an opportunity to make representations regarding that proposal or to request permission to rent under section 21 of the Immigration Act 2014, and (iii) that he will have an opportunity to seek a review if a notice is issued; (b) giving him an opportunity to make representations or request permission to rent; and (c) considering any such representations or request.