The Right to Rent scheme - which requires landlords or agents to check ID of all prospective adult occupiers - was rolled out in parts of the West Midlands on 1 December 2014 and across the rest of England on 1 February 2016. The rules do not currently apply in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Where an adult occupier has a time limited right to remain, landlords and letting agents will need to conduct follow up checks. These need to be made 12 months from the initial check or at the expiry of the individual’s right to be in the UK, whichever is the later.
ARLA have been part of the landlord panel throughout development of Immigration Act 2014 and Immigration Bill 2015 and have delivered a series of events across England to support letting agents in complying with the legislation.
New offences in force from 1 December 2016
The Home Office announced on 2 November 2016 that the date for new offences under Immigration Act 2016 relevant to the private rented sector in England, will come into force from 1 December 2016.
The new measures follow the introduction of civil penalties created under Immigration Act 2014 and aim to: Make it easier for private landlords to evict illegal migrant tenants. Create new criminal offences for rogue landlords and agents who knowingly, or with reasonable cause to believe, let to illegal migrants.
The offences are part of wider Government measures to tackle illegal immigration, and protect public services and access to the private rented sector for lawful residents.
From 1 December, landlords could be charged with a criminal offence if they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that they are letting to an illegal migrant.
From 1 December landlords will be able to obtain a notice from the Home Office to end tenancies for occupants with no Right to Rent.
The vast majority of landlords who are found to be renting to illegal migrants and who have not carried out Right to Rent checks, where the scheme has been implemented in their area, will be dealt with under the civil penalty regime. The new offences will be targeted at the smaller number of rogue landlords who are intent on flouting the law.
If you have any enquiries about Right to Rent checks you can contact the ARLA Legal Helpline on 0330 124 1212 or email Rachel Hartley, ARLA Marketing and Communications Manager.