Landlords to carry out immigration checks on tenants

The Immigration Act 2014 is due to come into force later this year but a pilot scheme is already underway in parts of the West Midlands. The Act introduces a requirement for landlords to conduct checks to establish that new tenants have the right to rent in the UK. Renting to illegal migrants will result in a £3,000 fine. There has been considerable opposition to the Act from Landlord Organizations who claim the responsibility for determining migrant status is being dumped on landlords and agents who will not have the necessary resources to ascertain if a prospective tenant is legally allowed to be in the country.

The “right to rent” will only apply to new tenancies. Landlords and agents are not required to make checks on existing tenants.

The Home Office will be providing draft codes of practice, guidance, and online resources to aid private landlords into making the right decision. Current advice suggests that landlords look for documents such as passports or biometric residence permits to prove the right to live and rent in the UK. There will be a telephone helpline and a case checking service for more complicated cases.

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