Immigration Act takes effect from October
May 20, 2014
The Immigration Bill, which has now received Royal Assent and become an Act of Parliament, will take effect from October this year and puts the onus on landlords, or their agents, to check the immigration status of any prospective tenant.
The aim of the Act is to prevent people with no right to be in the UK from renting property in the Private Rented Sector.
While the bill was highly controversial it now forms part of the law so landlords and agents will need to be fully aware of their responsibilities and the implications of failing to act upon them.
Prospective tenants will need to provide at least one document (from a specified list yet to be published) to confirm that they have the right to be resident in the UK.
If the landlord, or their agent, fails to check the prospective tenants status, and it turns out the property is let to someone who has no right to be in the country, then the landlord could face a fine of up to £3,000 per person illegally occupying a property.
The Immigration Act also states that these checks must also be made either annually, or before the visa’s expiry date, to confirm the tenants’ right to stay does not expire while they are in the property. Failing to carry out these follow up checks would also lead to fines of up to £3,000.
There is also an obligation on landlords to report to the authorities any suspicions that tenants might be an illegal immigrant.
Young London, Young Groups operational business, already checks the immigration status of applicants as part of the referencing process, as this is in the landlord’s’ best interest.