Immigration Checks and a Code of Practice for the Private Rented Sector
The beginning of this month seen the announcement of a pilot area for landlords being responsible for checking the immigration status of their tenants. The pilot area chosen was the West Midlands, with Wolverhampton and Birmingham being the core centres of the test area and they will begin the project on the 1st December. However, a recent article in LandlordZone highlighted that not all landlords in this area where aware of this upcoming pilot. A survey carried out in the area found that only 20 of 43 participants from the Wolverhampton area had heard of the scheme and ‘raises questions about the government’s ability to ensure awareness amongst landlords in the area.’
The Government published its Code of Practice for the private rented sector, which was seen as a step in the right direction by ARLA’s managing director David Cox. Key points relate to agents’ fees, the management of client money and safety checks, all of which have been issues that have in the news this month. At the start of the month there was further calls to ban letting agent fees from a joint report from the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Resolution Foundation. SAFEagent called on the government to make Client Monday Protection a legal requirement within the Consumer Rights Bill currently going through the Lords, and this month also seen Gas Safety Week where calls where made to make it a legal requirement that landlords should have carbon monoxide detectors in every rental property.
Looking forward to next month, with October 1st as the deadline for agents to be signed up to one of the three ombudsman schemes or face a fine of up to £5000 for non-compliance, it seems that agents are acting to comply.