Impending Immigration Laws and Right to Rent checks

Impending Immigration Laws and Right to Rent checks

Hannah McCartan
3rd August 2015

Essentially this will be the requirement by Landlords or their Agents (if formally instructed to by the landlord) to check the immigration status of tenants.

The government has seen a way where Landlords and Agents can assist in their immigration issues by requiring landlords check whether or not someone should be allowed to be in the country, (immigration checks) and therefore do they then have a right to rent a property?  Ultimately if they don’t have a right to rent, then they shouldn’t be in the country.

The controversial pilot in the west midlands has just seen the first Landlord fined £2000 for failing to check a tenants immigration status. While the roll-out could be from September, there is no official detail on the timing or whether and how it will be phased.

If this does come into effect nationwide, it could also be quite easy to inadvertently be caught out on the Discrimination Act! By not asking everyone to prove their nationality, even if they are British you could be discriminating against some people and not others. Our advice would be to ask each applicants for a copy of their passports and hold any relevant visas on file too.

Due to the already comprehensive referencing structure McCartan Lettings already have in place, applying additional checks are not too onerous for us, however it will be important for all Landlords to be aware that they will be responsible for ensuring the immigration and right to rent checks have been undertaken, whether they use a letting agent or privately rent out their property and do their own checks.  We have already put a system in place to request a copy of each tenant and occupier’s passport (even if they are of British Nationality) to mitigate any potential issues arising from this proposed new legislation.

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