Support, Advice and Experience within the Property Market

Landlords Beware of the Immigration Bill and The Right to Rent Checks

From Robert Ulph on August 10, 2015

On the 3rd of August the Government announced that Agents and landlords who fail to identify and evict tenants who are illegal immigrants face up to five years in jail.

Under the proposed scheme for landlords in England, the Home Office would issue a notice when an asylum application fails; that notice confirms the tenant no longer has the right to rent property. This will trigger a power for landlords to end the tenancy, without a court order in some circumstances. Repeatedly failing to act would be a new offence carrying maximum penalties of five years’ imprisonment or a fine.

Section 20 to 37 of the Immigration Act 2014 contains provisions to make it compulsory for landlords to check the immigration status of all new adult tenants. A failure to conduct the checks and to provide accommodation to those without leave to remain could lead to a penalty of £1,000 per tenant and £80 per lodger, rising to £3,000 and £500 for repeated offences by landlords or their agents.

The measures will be included in next month’s Immigration Bill when it starts its passage through Parliament, with the aim of making it more difficult for migrants to live in the UK after their visas have expired or applications for asylum have been rejected. The announcements – which at this stage still lack some details – come as the government remains under pressure to take additional measures against migrants attempting to reach the UK through the Channel Tunnel.
The proposals will feature and have been broadly welcomed by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) managing director David Cox says the measures are “a good first step” which the association welcomes.
“The plans will help to weed out the minority of rogue landlords who exploit vulnerable immigrants for their own financial gain and, with the introduction of a new five year imprisonment penalty, will help to deter other such unscrupulous individuals from entering the private rented sector” he says.

“We will be organising training sessions for our members to ensure they are fully prepared and understand the new rules and we urge all letting agents and landlords to ensure they are ready for the impending roll out” he adds.

If you are a landlord and would like to find out more about how these measures may affect you please do not hesitate to call me for an informal chat.