Immigration - And the "right to rent"

New measures are being introduced by the Department for Communities and Local Government concerning the immigration status of residential tenants, with implications for both tenants and landlords

These measures are set to tackle two contrasting issues, seeking to level the playing between those who abuse the system and those that do not.

Rogue Landlords

Landlords will now be required to undertake ‘right to rent’ checks on any proposed tenants, prior to entering into residential tenancy agreements. This will establish the immigration status of the tenant and whether they have leave to remain in the UK.

Consistent failure to undertake such a check could lead to the imposition of fines and, in extreme circumstances, a jail term of up to 5 years (pursuant to provisions contained in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, aimed at tackling money laundering offences). Such sanctions can apply to both landlords and letting agents.

The DCLG has also sought views via a consultation as to whether the sanctions detailed above would apply in a case where a landlord has: permitted a property to become overcrowded; given false information to the local authority or displayed behaviour towards tenants which amounts to harassment. Civil penalties could also be imposed for offences including allowing a property to fall into a dangerous state of repair.

Streamlining eviction procedures

The Immigration Bill will include measures permitting eviction of illegal immigrants by landlords once leave to remain in the UK has expired. A landlord will be able to take steps to evict the tenant immediately following notification from the Home Office that the tenant no longer has the right to rent in the UK.

Posted on 09/09/2015 by Ortolan

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