Landlords could face a penalty of £3,000 if they fail to check if a tenant is allowed to be in the country
With some landlords exploiting vulnerable migrants, the measures are designed to make it harder for migrants to live in the UK after their visas have expired, or where applications for asylum have been rejected. From February, letting agents and private landlords, including those who sub-let or take in lodgers, must check whether prospective tenants have the right to live in England. They will also be responsible for identifying and evicting illegal migrants from privately rented properties. Repeated failure to do either will face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant and up to five years imprisonment.
Under the new rules, the Home Office will issue a notice when an asylum application fails. That notice confirms the tenant no longer has the right to rent property. This will allow landlords to end a tenancy, without a court order in some circumstances.
Councils will create a black list of rogue landlords and lettings agents to keep track of those who have been convicted, and for repeat offenders, close down their lettings business.
Right to Rent is to be implemented within Section 22 of the Immigration Act 2014 as part of the government’s reforms to build a fairer and more effective immigration system. The first phase was launched in parts of the West Midlands in 2014 to allow time to assess how the measures work in practice and to carry out an evaluation, which has now been published.
Joseph Hall, Associate Partner – Head of Business Development, Lettings at Fenn Wright says “The new measures should help eliminate rogue letting agents and landlords who exploit vulnerable migrants for their own financial gain. They should also help deter corrupt individuals looking to enter the buy to let sector.
“We fully understand the new rules and will be carrying out the required verification checks on behalf of our landlords, the new Right to Rent Immigration checks will apply to new tenancies entered into from the 1st February 2016.’’ If you are a landlord, or looking to enter into the private rented sector, do get in touch and we shall explain everything you need to do including the documents you need to ask for to ensure you only let property to people with a right to rent in the UK.”