The Immigration Act 2014 has introduced a requirement for private landlords to check the immigration status of tenants, preventing those with no right to live in the UK from accessing private rented housing.
Landlords who rent to illegal migrants without conducting these checks will be liable for a civil penalty of up to £3000.
This includes landlords who take in lodgers or sub-let property.
Where a letting agent is employed on behalf of the landlord, the letting agent must conduct the necessary background checks on the tenants.
A pilot scheme is currently being run in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton, with the checks will then become mandatory for landlords in the rest of the UK at some point in 2015.
The Government believes that the checks will be simple to conduct and in most cases the landlord/letting agent will be able to carry them out without assistance. However, the Home Office has committed to providing a range of resources to help landlords and letting agents with compliance including:
In most cases, landlords will simply need to check the tenant’s passport or biometric residents permit. For the majority of landlords it will take a matter of minutes and they won’t need to contact the Home Office.
In a limited number of cases, where tenants do not have their documents due to an ongoing Home Office application, landlords can request a check using the online form. The checking service will then provide a yes or no answer within 2 working days to confirm whether they can let to a particular tenant.
Further information on The Immigration Act 2014 can be found here.
This Briefing has been produced for information purposes only and is based on the law and other information available at the time of writing. We cannot be held responsible for any losses incurred through acting or failing to act on the basis of anything contained in this Briefing.
If you require advice on any of the matters referred to, please contact us so that we can advise you, taking account of your own particular circumstances and requirements.