Birmingham, Walsall, Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton will be the first areas affected by new measures under the Immigration Act, which require landlords to check their tenants’ ‘Right to Rent’ according to the Home Office (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-rent-landlords-code-of-practice)
A penalty of up to £3,000 will be levied on landlords who fail to carry out the checks, which are aimed at identifying illegal immigrants.
The West Midlands pilot scheme will eventually be rolled out across the UK, but has met with strong resistance from some landlords groups.
A recent survey carried out by The Residential Landlords Association showed that 82 percent of landlords who responded said they were against the move.
Some tenants will find it challenging to provide suitable evidence on their right to be in the UK, which may strain landlord-tenant relations – according to the RLA.
Problems in obtaining documentation may lead to those who are entitled to be in the UK having their right to remain status questioned, suggests the RLA.
Homeless Charities have also voiced concern over the move, which, it has been suggested, may make it harder for homeless people to find accommodation reports an article by Inside Housing.
The report cites Matt Downie, director of policy and external affairs at homeless charity Crisis, as saying “It is hard enough for homeless people to find a place to live and we are concerned that asking them to prove their immigration status to landlords could make matters worse.”
It would appear from the Home Office Right to Rent: Landlords’ code of practice that the checks will only involve new tenants. Existing tenants or those renewing their tenancy will not be affected so Click4quote.com’s existing landlord insurance customers have some time to prepare for the new measures, with the West Midlands scheme not set to begin until December 1 and the rest of the UK rolling out over 2015.
Click4quote.com would always recommend undertaking referencing checks before taking on a tenant and the new legal immigration checks should simply become a part of a landlords overall tenant reference process. Why not take a look at our Tips and Guides for Landlords for information on tenant referencing, agreements, inventories and deposits