The government has announced today that from February 1st 2016, all private landlords in England will have to check new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property.
Private landlords - including those who sub-let or take in lodgers - who fail to check a tenant’s ‘Right to Rent’ will face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant.
Right to rent was introduced in the Immigration Act 2014 as part of the government’s efforts to build a fairer and more effective immigration system, aiming to deter illegal immigrants from remaining in the UK.
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said: "We are providing landlords in England with all the advice and support they need before the checks go live on 1 February 2016.”
The government launched a pilot of the checks in the West Midlands to allow time to assess how well the checks work and to evaluate the findings before rolling out the checks to the rest of the country in February of the New Year.
The pilot was overlooked by an expert panel, including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, representatives of landlords and letting agents, the homelessness charity Crisis and local authorities.
The Immigration Minister continued: “The government’s new Immigration Bill builds on the reforms in last year’s Act, making it harder for people to live and work in the UK illegally. The Bill proposes new measures to make it easier for landlords to evict illegal tenants as well as a new criminal offence targeted at unscrupulous landlords.”
Under right to rent, landlords should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies. A range of commonly available documents can be used. Landlords will also be able to check a potential tenant’s ‘right to rent’ through the Landlords Checking Service, helping landlords if a potential tenant has an outstanding immigration application or appeal with the Home Office.
With the assistance of the Human Rights Commission, Landlords and potential tenants are backed up by codes of practice including guidance on avoiding unlawful discrimination.
Article By: Bradley George, Senior Mortgage Consultant at Contractor Mortgages Made Easy
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