The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, announced plans to introduce new criminal penalties for Landlords in the UK. Landlords are already required to carry out right to rent checks and make sure that no illegal immigrants are occupying their properties. The aim of the right to rent checks is to regularise tenants’ status in the UK. Failure to carry out the compulsory checks may result in civil penalties up to £3000.Amber Rudd announced plans of Criminal Penalties for UK Landlords.
Landlords may have to pay criminal penalties for non – compliance with UK Immigration Rules
The Home Secretary announced that landlords who don’t comply with the Immigration Rules and do not carry out the right to rent checks on their tenants will be committing a criminal offence. Amber Rudd expressed her plans to introduce new criminal penalties.
The Home Secretary stated:
“So today, I am announcing that from December, landlords that knowingly rent out property to people who have no right to be here will be committing a criminal offence. They could go to prison.”
Amber Rudd also announced that mandatory immigration status checks under this year’s legislation, including on those who apply for taxi drivers’ licences, would come into effect this December.
UK Landlords have a duty to conduct right to rent immigration checks
UK Landlords must check if the tenant or lodger can legally rent the property. Before the start of a new tenancy, all tenants should be checked. This also refers to tenants who are not named on the tenancy agreement or when the tenancy agreement is not in writing or no tenancy agreement has been signed. If your tenant is allowed to stay in the UK for a limited period of time, you will need to carry out the checks again in the 28 days before the start of the tenancy.
There are some types of tenants that are exempt from the checks. You may wish to check whether your checks are obligatory.
Right to Rent Checks for UK Landlords
You will need to ensure you asked your tenants for their original documents. After checking if tenants have a right to reside in the UK, you will need to take copies of documents and keep them in your record. The documents must be original and belong to the tenant. You will need to check if the dates for the tenant’s right stay in the UK have not expired and whether the photographs are real. In addition, check the dates of birth, names and supporting documents, e.g. marriage certificate or divorce decree. If unsure of the result of your checks, you might want to contact the Home Office in order to use the landlord’s checking service to fin out if your tenants are allowed to rent the property.
Civil Penalties for non-compliance with Immigration Rules
You might be fined if you rent a property to someone who is not allowed to reside in the UK and you can’t show that you have carried out right to rent checks. You could get a referral notice letting you know that you are under investigation and you can get a fine (‘civil penalty). After a consideration of your case you can either receive a ‘no action’ notice or a civil penalty with the amount you need to pay.
The amount of penalties is different for lodgers in a private household and for tenants in rented accommodation. The amount of the first penalty for a lodger is £80 and £500 for further penalties. The penalty for tenants is much higher, being £1000 and £3000 for further penalties.
You have a right to object a penalty within 28 days, if you’re not liable to pay the penalty, e.g. you are not the landlord, you have made a correct check or the penalty is not calculated properly.
Expert Immigration Advice on Right to Rent Checks & UKVI Appeals
Landlords may not be liable to face civil penalties where they have conducted the initial right to rent checks before issuing the tenancy agreement. Landlords will be required to conduct follow-up checks and inform the Home Office if the follow-up checks demonstrate that their tenant may no longer have the right to rent. A failure to comply with the right to rent checks may result in the landlord facing civil penalties and/or imprisonment.
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. Please always call us for a telephone case assessment even if you wish to consider other advisers.
Our Immigration Experts are able to give specialist legal information and advice in this area of law. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our legal case assessment form and we will get in touch or call us now on 0845 8622 529 for a free telephone assessment and free case assessment.
If you wish to consider your options, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your matter and if necessary advise you of the next steps you should take in a consultation.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
If you need professional legal advice on how to conduct right to rent checks or appealing penalties please contact us for a case assessment on 02071830570. You can also reach us via our contact form.