Landlords and letting agents are being tasked with checking the immigration status of tenants before renting them a home, according to proposals from the Home Office.
The move has left many landlords confused about what they must do to comply with the rules, so here is a quick guide to the proposals:
Why must landlords check tenant immigration status?
The problem seems confined to a small number of criminal landlords who rent homes that are in a poor condition to illegal immigrants for inflated rents.
Also, not all landlords reference their tenants, which lets some immigrants find a home in the UK to which they are not entitled.
Who has to be checked?
The checks must cover any adults moving into a rented home.
How do landlords and letting agents carry out immigration checks
The Home Office will publish a list of official documents. Property owners and letting agents will have to check two or more from the list and keep copies for their records.
If the prospective tenant cannot provide the documents, the landlord must not rent them the home.
How will landlords know what documents to check?
The Home Office will publish guidelines and run a helpline.
When are the checks made?
Like referencing, the documents must be provided before the tenant signs the rent agreement and moves into a home.
What are the penalties for not checking?
Landlords will be subject to a scale of fines – the worst offenders will pay several thousand pounds in penalties
Which property people are affected by the check?
The property owner or manager must make the check, which includes:
- Buy to let and house in multiple occupation owners, including shared house managers
- Letting agents
- Hotel owners taking in guests for three months or longer
- Homeowners taking in lodgers
When does the consultation close?
Replies must be in by August 21, 2013
Where can I find the consultation paper?
Download the documents from http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/consultations/33-landlords/summary.pdf?view=Binary