Right To Rent Checks Set To Continue

Thursday, June 25, 2015
Right To Rent Checks Set To Continue

Right To Rent Checks Set To Continue

Pilot Assessment Of Right To Rent Checks Due Next Month

Government Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire has stated that the controversial right to rent immigration checks could be rolled out in other parts of the UK, once the results of the pilot scheme have been thoroughly assessed.

The pilot scheme forcing landlords and letting agents to become unpaid agents of the UK Border Agency has only been operating for 6 months in parts of the West Midlands, requiring private rental sector (PRS) landlords and their appointed letting agents to not only conduct thorough background checks on applicants but also carry out stringent document checks and keep detailed records to identify if a potential tenant has both the right to reside and the right to rent in the UK as set out under the terms of the Immigration Act 2014.The National Landlords Association (NLA) met with the Government’s Immigration Minister to get a better understanding of the scale, speed and scope of the expected national implementation of the controversial immigration checks, however Mr Brokenshire told the NLA that any subsequent roll-out of the new right to rent scheme may be phased in, area by area, and that it may not apply throughout the whole of the UK because in order to scale up the required services to meet national demand will require significant investment both by Government and local authorities.

Comprehensive tenant referencing is not enough to satisfy Government officials as compliance with the Immigration Act 2014 involves landlords or their appointed letting agent physically verifying the tenant applicant’s passport or biometric residents permit and checks can be requested using an online form which provides decisions within two working days.

Where an agent has accepted responsibility from the landlord for compliance with the new rules, the agent will be the liable party in place of the landlord. The new legislation also applies to individual home owners who take in lodgers and will also apply to tenants who sub-let properties.

The Immigration Act 2014 requires that appropriate records of all checks need to be kept on file for up to 12 months after the tenancy ends. Failure to abide by the regulations will result in fines up to £3,000 (GBP).

Data made available to the NLA showed that the pilot scheme has so far generated:

  • 911 calls to the Home Office
  • 36,000 visits to the Home Office guidance website
  • 114 requests for checks in cases where tenants were unable to verify their right to rent
  • 75 Border Agency referrals

The NLA are set to help the Home Office draft new guidance to help support landlords and letting agents who find themselves faced with tenant applicants who do not have the right to rent properties in the UK’s private rental sector (PRS).

Under the terms of the Immigration Act 2014, tenant referencing is not enough to ensure compliance, landlords or their appointed letting agent must physically verify the tenant applicant’s passport or biometric residents permit establishing the applicant’s right to reside in the UK and their right to rent.

This was written by Mike Clarke. Posted on at 11:30 am. Filed under Referencing. Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.