A guide to Right to Rent immigration checks
Steve wood, Wales and West chairman of the Council of Certificated Enforcement Agents Association, has provided a guide to what landlord’s ned to know about Right to Rent immigration checks.
With immigration being a hot topic politically, considering the general election, implications of Brexit and pressure to reduce net migration figures, the Right to Rent scheme has caused some controversy and debate, with many landlords having less than favourable views on its cost and practicality.
The Right to Rent scheme requires landlords who rent out their property to carry out immigration checks on potential tenants, before entering into a tenancy, in an attempt to create a ‘hostile environment for illegal migrants’.
The scheme was rolled out in England, by the government last year, who now plan to launch the scheme throughout the rest of the UK, however the date for action has yet to be set.
The law states, that landlords are not permitted to rent their properties to tenants who do not have permission to live in the UK and any landlord found doing so could face a fine of up to £3,000, or even prison.
All tenants and lodgers, aged 18 and over must be checked, even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement and regardless of their perceived nationality. It is illegal and discriminatory for landlords to only check tenants they believe are not British citizens.
The first step in checking potential tenants’ Right to Rent is to establish the adults living at the property as their main or only residence. Landlords, or agents working on behalf of landlords, then need to request and check original documents to prove they have a right to live in the UK. Landlords are expected to make follow up checks after 12 months, or after the right expires.
New legislation has empowered landlords with the ability to evict tenants who are found to be in the country illegally and are recommended a procedure to follow should the need arise:
- Arrange the surrender of the tenancy by mutual agreement with the relevant party
- Serve the appropriate notice period to the tenant, including a copy of the ‘Notice of Letting to a Disqualified Person’ from the Home Office. Occupiers should be given a minimum of 28 days to vacate the property.
- If an occupier fails to leave the property after their notice period has expired, landlords can apply to the district registry of a High Court to ask that the High Court enforcement officers evict the tenant. The enforcement agency will then take over the eviction process once the notice has been served.
- Under Section 33D of the Immigration Act 2014, landlords can evict tenants without a court possession order.
If a landlord is renting their property to multiple tenants and only some, not all, of the tenants are disqualified, then only the tenants without the ‘right to rent’ should be removed.
Full article available on LandlordTODAY: https://www.landlordtoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2017/6/right-to-rent–what-landlords-need-to-know