PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.
The Immigration Act 2014 received its Royal Assent on 14th May 2014.
Subject to Parliamentary approval, it is anticipated that a new scheme will be implemented from October 2014 that will affect private landlords who are taking on new tenants.
From the implementation date, all residential landlords will have to carry out a basic check of the immigration status of prospective tenants and other authorised occupiers to ensure that they have the right to occupy premises. These checks must be carried out before the granting of a tenancy.
There is also an obligation on the landlords to ensure that someone’s right of occupancy does not lapse.
The reason that this is so important is that for a breach of the provisions of this new system there will be a civil penalty of up to £3,000.00 imposed on the landlord.
In the factsheet for tackling illegal immigration in private rented accommodation, the Government has provided assurances that compliance with the checks for the new tenants will be simple, straight forward and quick – for law abiding landlords and tenants.
The penalties will apply where a landlord has failed to carry out the necessary checks, or has knowingly allowed illegal immigrants to rent their property.
On current information The Home Office is intending to create an online checking resource similar to that used for the online “Right to Work” checking. It is also intended that the Home Office will set up a free telephone enquiry and checking service, and an email service that should have a turn around to give landlords a response within 48 hours.
There will be certain exemptions, but unlike many of the provisions for residential occupancy the need to check the immigration status will apply to people taking lodgers or subtenants into their own home, as well as the stand alone tenancy agreements for rented properties.