The pressure is on landlords and letting agents as 2.5 million tenants will need to be checked out and given immigration checks to determine their Right to Rent status in 2016.
The Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) analysis of the English Housing Survey shows that around 2.5 million adults moved into or transferred within the private rented sector in 2013-14. Projecting these figures forward and everything else being equal it will be around that figure that landlords and agents will need to be checking in 2016.
Landlords are being reminded that there is less than a month to go before Right to Rent goes live across England. The new law means that from 1 February 2016, landlords will have to carry out checks to ensure potential tenants have the right to rent property in the UK when they start a new tenancy.
From this week landlords can start to carry out Right to Rent checks as these can be done from 28 days before the start of a tenancy agreement.
The Right to Rent legislation means that England’s 1.8 million private landlords will need to check tenants’ immigration status whilst staying within the law on discrimination matters. That means that in effect all tenants will need to be taken through exactly the same process up to the point where it can be established that further immigration status needs to be established.
Landlord should keep documentary evidence that this process is being complied with – see: https://www.landlordzone.co.uk/documents for forms and checklists to help you stay legal.
The CIH has warned that given the scale of the task, and the threat of a fine or even a jail sentence for failing to carry out the checks correctly, landlords may be tempted to discriminate against anyone they may think at first sight is not be British, even if they are entitled to live in the UK. This would be a mistake on a landlord’s part has the penalties for discrimination are equally harsh.
Immigration minister James Brokenshire has said:
“Landlords with property in England need to prepare now for the new Right to Rent scheme to ensure they are ready for 1 February.
“Ahead of the scheme’s roll out, we have been working closely with an expert panel to make sure their feedback is taken on board and to design a scheme that is as simple and light touch as possible. Many responsible landlords have already been undertaking similar checks – these are straightforward and do not require any specialist knowledge.
“Right to Rent is part of the Government’s wider reforms to the immigration system to make it stronger, fairer and more effective. Those with a legitimate right to be here will be able to prove this easily and will not be adversely affected. The scheme is about deterring those without the right to live, work or study in the UK from staying here indefinitely.”
Right to Rent was introduced through a pilot scheme in parts of the West Midlands in December 2014 and is now to be extended to across England is the next phase of a nationwide roll-out. Landlords, anybody subletting a residential property and those who take in lodgers, could face a fine of up to £3,000 per tenant if they are found to have not carried out the checks and are letting to someone who has no right to stay in the UK.
Landlords in England – get ready for right to rent
Checks carried out by www.tenantverify.co.uk along with most other checking aganecies now include Right to Rent Checks
2.5 million tenants to get immigration checks – https://t.co/ow4K0TwAuA
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) January 13, 2016