Radical reform of immigration policies is needed to tackle the injustice of a ‘hostile environment’ that burdens landlords with unnecessary responsibilities, says a new report.

Research Access Denied: The Human Impact of the Hostile Environment believes this environment has forced many people into destitution, has helped to foster racism and discrimination, and badly affected those with the legal right to live and work in the UK.

It points to the Right to Rent scheme as one of the Government’s “systematic flaws” in its approach to immigration enforcement.

Authors at The Institute for Public Policy (IPPR) write: “Inherent in the design of the hostile environment is the targeting of individuals on the basis of their lack of documentation, the deterring of people from accessing public services, and the transfer of responsibilities away from immigration officials and towards untrained professionals such as landlords.”

Earlier this summer, MPs voted not to exempt landlords from doing Right to Rent checks on EU nationals as the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination Bill passed its third reading in the Commons.

Supreme Court

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants plans to challenge a Court of Appeal ruling which found that the scheme was ‘proportionate’ in meeting its objectives by taking a further appeal to the Supreme Court.

The report says this has introduced new forms of discrimination into the private rental sector and adds that restrictions on access to benefits can force people without immigration status into destitution.

It says: “There is evidence of malnutrition, cramped and substandard accommodation, and mental ill-health among undocumented migrant families unable to access public funds.”

IPPR believes the current situation doesn’t appear to be working for anyone and points to its study of 133 people without immigration status that found that, in spite of the increasingly harsh conditions associated with the hostile environment, nearly 40% planned to stay permanently and less than 10% intended to leave within the year.

Read the full report.


  1. More twaddle.
    There is no such thing as an undocumented migrant.
    They are called illegal immigrants and there are about 2 million of them living illegally in the UK.
    If I had my way they’d all be deported tomorrow.
    The alleged hostile environment isn’t anywhere bear hostile enough!!!
    These 2 million illegal immigrants are occupying properties which should be occupied by legitimate tenants as I doubt many illegal immigrants are homeowners.
    They must be being housed by criminal LL

  2. Spot on Pau Barrett. The govt and Local Authorities are really failing the very people they claim they are helping. They do not listen to the various landlord organizations or the landlords themselves. The emphasis is on rogue landlords, of which, there are not very many. The definition of a rogue landlord is unclear. It was the intention of Government and Local Authorities to bring in some proper regulation of the private rented sector by introducing selective licensing, which has turned out to be a toothless tool and is seen simply as a stealth tax on landlords, who hike their rents to cover this unnecessary and ineffective operation. The Local Authorities claim that it weeds out the rogue landlords and puts a check on anti-social behaviour by either or both the landlord and tenant. In fact, it does neither. The Housing Officers have always been able to monitor their landlords, especially if a complaint has been made by a tenant. So, there is nothing new here except the Local Authorities are getting something of a windfall with which they may employ an extra enforcement officer or two whose job, it seems, is to track down landlords in their Borough who have not registered for a licence and threaten a large penalty if they fail to apply for a licence. As for illegal migrants. They are usually youngish men who bid for work in the black economy, live in very overcrowded conditions in unregistered HMOs run by foreigners who do not decare their illicit income to HMRC, while the Local Authority housing officers merely instruct the landlords to clear the illegals out……no report to HMRC. These are the true rogue landlords and they run rings around the housing officers. It is very sad that the vast majority of private landlords are good, decent, honest people who provide sound, safe, clean accommodation to their tenants, while facing increasing responsibilities and regulations from the Government who believe that landlords are greedy fat cat capitalists who are out to screw their tenants without regard to their health and safety. ‘undocumented immigrants’ is a term taken from the USA to mean illegal immigrants who should not be here, let alone taking up housing stock which should be housing legitimate people in need of a home. The whole thing needs reform from top to bottom.

  3. I’m shocked by the level of hatred and bile displayed here toward. ‘illegal immigrants’. They’re people. Do you have nay concept of that? Your attitude of ‘I’m alright Jack, and sod anyone who doesn’t look like me’ frankly stinks. I truly hope that one day you have the good fortune to be reliant on a system that doesn’t even recognise your humanity. Perhaps then you might be lucky enough to develop a shred of compassion. You make me sick.

  4. I came back from Thailand in the beginning of March, and got stuck here when the flights were cancelled back to Bangkok. I then had to find my own place to stay in. I was staying with my mum. OK, during Covid many people were not showing places and so that was difficult, but even with a British passport, and British driver’s license I was getting turned away. They wanted to know where I worked and if I had references. No, I didn’t have references unless you wanted to get them off my landlord in Bangkok.

    I am shocked at the discrimination in the UK housing market. It is abominable. I had the money and enough to prove I would pay my rent and the deposit. I was also with my wife, and the amount of places that only took singles. Eventually we found a place but the housing market in the UK needs to be shaken up because the discrimination, and frankly abuse of power by landlords is shocking. I am originally from South Africa and maybe that put some people off, but I am British in all sense of the word. I have had a British passport for the past 32 years. My parents were born here, and so were my grandparents and all my cousins and uncles.

    Come to Bangkok, and we would show you when the boot is on the other foot. You walk in, hand over the deposit (2 months normally) and get the keys and walk in. If you don’t pay they call the police and throw you out. Simple. The way it should be.

  5. It’s so funny the way people point the finger of ‘hatred and bile’ at others, and then display exactly the same behaviour themselves, in wishing unpleasantness on those they have usually misunderstood!
    I only wish one could call the police and get rogue tenants out. After £6000 of arrears, abuse and lying, the woman left ten minutes before the bailiff was due – he watched her leave (up the road to the local drug-dealer), leaving all her rubbish and drug needles behind. CAB had told her to stay put, even though she refused to make a Universal Credit claim for rent (but perhaps she hadn’t told them that?). Oh, she wasn’t an immigrant – just a rotten local.


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