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A Burden on Residential Landlords and Agents: Right to Rent checks Come Into Force

by Published on

The Immigration Act 2014 (“IA 2014”) will oblige landlords and their agents to carry out immigration checks on all proposed tenants before renting out residential properties. A failure to do so will, in short, lead to a potential fine of up to £3,000 for each tenant illegally occupying a residential property. We can now confirm that the obligation to check the right to rent will come into force for all landlords and their agents on 1 February 2016.

We are also now able to advise that the documentation which landlords and agents should obtain when checking the immigration status of prospective tenants has slightly changed since we gave our seminar briefing last year. There have also been slight changes to the manner in which landlords and agents should notify contravention of the obligations to the Secretary of State.

A new Code of Practice has been issued by the Home Office dealing with these changes. This provides guidance on how landlords and agents should approach the carrying out of the checks and the steps they should otherwise follow. The Code of Practice can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-rent-landlords-code-of-practice. There is also a right to rent guide recently issued by the Home Office which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/492734/6_1193_HO_NH_Right-to-Rent-Guidance_v8.pdf.

Finally, there is an amendment to the IA 2014 currently passing through Parliament with the aim of making a repeated failure to carry out the right to rent checks a criminal offence for both landlords and agents, with the offender liable both to a fine and imprisonment.

When further information is released we will provide an update.

Samuel Phillips Law Firm may be able to offer some landlords and agents a short seminar on the new right to rent changes. For more information please contact Chris Anderson on 0191 255 0222 or at chrisanderson@samuelphillips.co.uk or, alternatively, Chris Morgan on 0191 255 0206 or at chrismorgan@samuelphillips.co.uk.

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