This afternoon, James Brokenshire, the Minister for Security and Immigration presented a written statement before the House of Commons regarding the ‘working draft’ of the Code of Practice on illegal migrants and rented accommodation. The Home Office announced that from October 2014 landlords of private residential property will need to check that tenants have a right to rent in the UK before letting a property to them. Part 3 Chapter 1 of the Immigration Act 2014 will launch in Birmingham,Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton from 1 December 2014 as part of the pilot scheme before it is introduced to the rest of UK.
James Brokenshire: Right to Rent Checks are quick and simple
In a written statement today, James Brokenshire stated that landlords and agents will have to follow ‘the right to rent checks’, which consists of obtaining documents from potential tenants such as passport or a Biometric Residence Permit:
“We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who abuse the system or flout the law. The right to rent checks are quick and simple, but will make it more difficult for immigration offenders to stay in the country when they have no right to be here. They will also act as a new line of attack against unscrupulous landlords who exploit people by renting out substandard, overcrowded and unsafe accommodation. Landlords in the West Midlands will have all the advice and support they need in advance of the checks going live on 1 December.”
If private landlords do not follow the new Immigration rules they could face a fine of up to £3000. The Home Office will evaluate the implementation of the rules in the West midlands in spring 2015 and is expected to continue introducing the immigration checks across the UK next year.
Research conducted by the Online Letting Agents just last month found that 8 out 10 landlords in the UK feel that the Immigration legislation places too much responsibility on them. Approximately 43% of landlords are not confident that they will comply will the legislation, while 30% are said to be optimistic about the new checks.
Who can Occupy Residential Accommodation in the UK?
Under the scheme, individuals will fall into the following three broad categories depending on their immigration status:
- Unlimited Right to Rent: This applies to British citizens, EEA, Swiss nationals and people who have the right to reside in the UK or who have been granted indefinite leave to remain or have no time limit on their stay in the UK (A landlord will not be liable for a civil penalty if they rent accommodation by someone with an unlimited right to rent in the UK).
- Time-limited Right to Rent: This applies to people that have have valid leave to enter or remain in the UK for a limited period of time; or they are entitled to enter or remain in the UK as a result of an enforceable right under European Union law or any provision made
under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 (in order to avoid a penalty a landlord will need to conduct follow-up checks on people who come under this category).
- No Right to Rent: This applies to people who do not have permission to be in the UK (landlords will face a hefty fine if they lease accommodation to someone who has no immigration status in the UK).
Are you affected by the ‘Right to Rent Checks’?
Illegal migrants with strong Human Rights arguments ought to take legal advice and regularise their stay in the UK as soon as possible and before it is too late. If you have received correspondence from Capita, it is advisable that you seek immediate legal advice before enforcement action is taken against you by the Home Office.
Contact us to discuss your immigration situation and we will assess your case and provide you with options of regularising your stay.