New legislation will see landlords face fines if they rent homes to illegal immigrants without checking their ‘Right to Rent’. The new law will mean private landlords will have to check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country if they want to avoid potentially being fined up to £3,000.The Home Office recently announced more detail for Landlords on this controversial ‘Right to Rent’ policy:-
- Roll out date
The scheme was first introduced in December 2014 and piloted in the west midlands. As anticipated he Home Office now plans to extend this throughout the UK from the autumn.
- A new Criminal Offence
The scheme is expected to target organised crime and those who fail to repeatedly carry out checks and/or end tenancies when instructed to do so by the Home Office, the offence will carry a maximum five year prison sentence.
- A new Possession Ground
This will enable Landlords to swiftly end a tenancy where a tenant is found not to have the Right to Rent in England. The new ground is likely to be in the form of an amendment to the Housing Act 1988, to be used in conjunction with a Section 8 Notice.
- A legal Notice from the Home Office to end tenancies
This is the second way by which a tenancy can be ended, and will apply where the Home Office has determined that the tenants do not have the Right to Rent.
Landlords therefore have a legal responsibility to ensure that all the necessary checks are carried out. It is possible to delegate this to your Letting Agent if this is agreed in writing and set out in the Terms of Business. It’s important to remember that checks need to be completed for all adults resident at the property whether or not they are named in the tenancy agreement. Original ID (not copies) will need to be both checked and verified and copies will need to be held on file. Where a tenant only has a time limited Right to Rent in the UK Landlords will be required to undertake a further check when their leave expires. Failure to comply will result in serious consequences, seeing hefty fines for each non-compliant tenant.
The Home Office has set up a telephone Helpline for Landlords to help navigate the process effectively 0300 069 9799