‘Right To Rent’ Pilot Starts
December 2, 2014
From yesterday a landlord (or their lettings agent) who lets out property in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton will need to conduct ‘right to rent’ checks. This new initiative is part of the new Immigration Act 2014 and failure to comply – and thus let to a tenant who has no right to be in the UK – will result in a £3,000 fine per breach.
The crux of the ‘right to rent’ check is that landlords and letting agents must seek evidence of a person’s identity and citizenship to confirm they are legally in the country. In cases where a passport cannot be produced further checks can be requested via a government website.
At some point in 2015, after this undefined trial period finishes, the ‘right to rent’ checks will be rolled out nationwide. For now all industry eyes will be focused on the West Midlands pilot area.
This move is part of the Governments attempts to stop illegal immigrants from residing in the country but they also claim it will help to clamp down on rogue landlords who overcrowd or rent out unsafe properties.
But there has been concern from some quarters about the checks. The National Landlords Association has claimed that they believe the checks will lead to discrimination as landlords end up favouring “low-risk” tenants.