Checking Immigrants:

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) is calling on the industry for evidence to help with their evaluation exercise on the tenant’s Right to Rent scheme.

The inspector has already invited stakeholders, landlord and agent representative bodies, including  those bodies that took part in the Home Office Landlords Consultative Panel to contribute.

ICIBI are now asking for evidence from wider stakeholders on:

  • The initial introduction of Right to Rent.
  • Evidence from the Rollout of Phase 1 (in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton) and how this informed the development of the scheme.
  • Right to Rent sanctions.
  • Issuance of civil penalties, criminal prosecutions and removals measures by Home Office enforcement and casework teams.
  • Joint working and data-sharing between the Home Office and other government departments, agencies and other bodies.
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In ARLA Propertymark’s response they are highlighting key issues with the scheme including whether the scheme is achieving its core aims in relation to rogue landlords and illegal tenants.

They are also concerned about the time and resources that professional agents have to use to complete checks within the context of an impending ban on letting agent fees.

They are highlighting to the inspector the issues that need to be addressed in order to ensure that the scheme does not fail to meet its objectives including the quality of example identification shown in the user guidance and the robustness of some forms of accepted identification specified in List A, Group 2.

ICIBI need to understand, say ARLA Propertymark, that the limited scope of the helpline is an issue as it does not meet the needs of agents and landlords who are frequently looking for advice on spotting forgeries and deciding whether individual items of identification correspond to generic items on the list i.e. “other travel documents endorsed to show that the holder is allowed to stay in the UK”.

ARLA Propertymark says:

“Where agents have had to use the Landlord Checking service for tenants without documentation, we are pleased that checks are being carried out quickly but have raised issues with the quality of the documentation received.

“In our response we are highlighting the ineffectiveness of legislation which fails to be supported by appropriate levels of enforcement. Many members are simply sceptical of the impact on rogue landlords delivering substandard accommodation because of a fundamental lack of enforcement activity.”

This new elevation study follows a previous one conducted 6 months after the scheme’s introduction – see here

Code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation here

ARLA Code of Practice for Letting Agents – here

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