Are you aware of the Implementation of the Immigration Act 2014 and the requirements for Landlords and Letting Agents ?

At long last the Government announced the trial areas for the Landlord Immigration check requirement under the Immigration Act 2014, and if you do not have rented property in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton for now you can breathe a sigh of relief.

From 1st December Landlords and Agents dealing with tenancies in the Private Rented Sector in these areas will be faced with the complicated issues of immigration and residence status and the possibility of fines of up to £3000. This is only for new tenancies and not existing ones.

There is a 31 page ‘Work in Progress’ Code of Practice issued by the Home Office for Landlords and Letting Agents which can be downloaded from here Home Office Code of Practice This rather lengthy document explains what documentation is acceptable and what course of action you can take if an applicant cannot produce the required documents, but has an ongoing immigration application or appeal with the Home Office. A Right to Rent check can be requested from the Home Office and a clear ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer will be given within 2 days.

In brief:

  • Immigration Act 2014 introduces restrictions on illegal immigrants accessing rented housing.
  • Trial areas Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton
  • Only new tenancies starting after 1st December.
  • Checks must be made on all adult tenants aged 18 or over
  • Only the private sector is targeted, as the rules do not apply to social landlords.
  • Fines up to £3000
  • Government has issued a ‘Working Draft’ Code of Practice
  • Claims it will only take minutes to check tenants passport or biometric residents permit by Landlord or Agent without having to contact the Home Office
  • Or landlords can request a check using an online form and will get a Yes or NO answer within two days ?
  • Retain copies of documents such as passports, birth certificates, driving licences or biometric residence permits.
  • Many British people do not have a passport, and for those tenants on housing benefits, without passports, this will create an added difficulty