The ‘Right-to-Rent’ checks are currently being trialled in the West Midlands and the Government is committed to roll the immigration checks scheme nationally, but exactly how and when this will be done is as yet undecided.
That’s according to the National Landlords’ Association (NLA) after their meeting with Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire MP. They were told that “the national implementation will be informed by the evaluation project underway and due to report from July 2015. Consequently no decision has been made about the way in which the areas effected will be broadened.”
According to Mr Brokenshire the scheme may be implemented in a phased manner, i.e. area by area, and there is the possibility that not all nations of the Union will be covered.
The NLA say that: “However the roll-out is managed, the task is a mammoth one. To date the first phase, concentrating on only a handful of local authority areas in the West Midlands, has generated 911 calls to the Home Office, 114 checking requests for checks in cases where tenants were unable to verify their right to rent, 36,000 visits to the guidance webpages and 75 referrals. Subsequently, 4 payment notices have been issued to landlords or agents and 1 payment has been made.”
It will “require significant investment on the part of local and national government. Crucially it will also require legal changes to enable landlords to work within the law.”
Another important aspect which goes along with the scheme will be the need for a faster and legal way to end a tenancy when it is found that residents do not have the right to rent in the UK.
The NLA say that as a result of negotiations the Home Office and Department for Communities and Local Government “have agreed that landlords need a faster and more certain means of ending tenancies where their tenants do not have the right to rent.”
To meet this need, the NLA say, “it looks likely that a new possession ground will be introduced in the near future – the NLA is working with both departments to ensure this happens quickly and is designed to benefit landlords.”
The NLA say they are working with the Home Office draft new guidance “to support landlords who find themselves faced with tenants not-permitted to rent in the UK.”
A further meeting is scheduled with the minister and officials again in July and the NLA will keep landlords up to date with any new developments.