The UK Government has now confirmed that private landlords and agents acting for them will be required to do tenant checks for immigration status.
Procedures will be put in place for landlords to follow similar to those used by employers when checking out residency status for potential employees.
The scheme will first of all be piloted in one test region of the country before rolling it out nationwide. The pilot will commence from October this year, with an announcement of the location coming in September.
Codes of Practice, guidance notes and online resources will be made available soon which will help landlords to conduct these checks thoroughly, while avoiding the possibility of a claim for discrimination.
Landlords will be required to show that they are applying the same or a similar level of checks and screening to everyone, not just those they suspect may be illegal immigrants.
The legislation (The Immigration Act 2014) is intended to make it harder for illegal immigrants to obtain rental accommodation in the UK.
Landlords failing to carry out these checks properly will face fines of up to £3000 per tenant.
The Immigration Act 2014 – www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/22/contents/enacted