Right to Rent

Case study

The context

The Home Office introduced Right to Rent checks with the aim of making it harder for people to live and work in England illegally. The scheme requires landlords of privately rented accommodation to conduct checks on all new tenants to establish if they have a legal right to be in the UK and therefore have the right to rent.

On full rollout of the scheme, the Government needed to assess whether the Right to Rent scheme leads to unlawful discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or nationality.

What we did

The work was delivered in partnership with Professor Kath Scanlon of The London School of Economics and Political Science and included:

  • Mystery shopping, where shoppers approached private landlords and letting agents to enquire about potential rental properties

  • Quantitative and qualitative research with private landlords investigating awareness and engagement with the Right to Rent scheme

How it helped

Clear examples of discriminatory behaviour were found in the implementation of Right to Rent by landlords and letting agents, with mystery shopper ‘success’ outcomes varying according to nationality and ethnicity, and 19% of landlords claiming to be aware of tenants being discriminated against on the basis of their actual or perceived nationality, race or ethnic background.

However, there was little or no evidence of systematic, unlawful discrimination as a result of the Right to Rent scheme, and discrimination on other grounds (for example towards welfare benefit claimants) was found at a much higher level.

Read more about the work here.


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