Landlords beware…hefty fines introduced in order to prevent housing of illegal immigrants

Sep 4, 2014

From 1st December 2014, landlords in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton will be required to check that that any adult aged over 18 has the right to live in the UK before letting a property to them. If after this date a property is let to someone who doesn’t hold the right to rent, landlords could face fines of up to £3,000.

Under section 22 of the 2014 Immigration Act, unless the person is a British citizen, EEA or Swiss national or someone with the “right to rent”, which entails being lawfully compliant with current immigration legislation, a landlord should not permit anyone to rent property under a residential tenancy agreement starting on or after 1st December. The restriction and civil penalty provisions referred to as “the Scheme”, aim to make certain that immigrants who are present in the UK illegally are unable to establish a settled life in the UK.

Landlords can carry out, without needing to contact the Home Office, basic document checks in order to avoid a civil penalty; suitable identity includes passports or biometric residence permits. Landlords letting property to people with a time-limited right to rent will need to conduct follow up checks in order to remain compliant and avoid a potential fine. If these reveal that an individual no longer has the “right to rent”, landlords will have to not only keep detailed records of their checks, but must report to the Home Office within a certain timeframe.

If you think this legislative change might affect you, the Codes of Practice gives an in depth explanation; including whether you are affected and if any exemptions apply.