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Landlords responsibilities to check for illegal immigrants

View profile for Michelle Hayter
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Under the new legislation contained in the Government’s Immigration Act 2014, private sector landlords are set to face hefty financial penalties if they do not carry out checks to ensure potential new tenants have a right to remain in the UK. This is part of the Government’s attempts to curb illegal migration.

Under the Act a landlord must not authorise the occupancy of premises under a residential tenant agreement if that person is disqualified as a result of their immigration status. Section 22 (1) states that ‘a person is disqualified if they are not a ‘relevant national’ or they do not have a right to rent – ie – they require leave to enter or remain in the UK but do not have such permission.

Dispute Resolution Partner Michelle Hayter says, “This policy has proved controversial with landlords and the Chief Executive Officer of the National Landlords Association has said that while they welcome this , it is vital that the system is simple, straightforward and easy for landlords to understand.” However, the Residential Landlord Association (RLA) said that 82% of private sector landlords do not support the proposals to compel them to carry out immigration checks.

The penalties that would be imposed on landlords failing to comply are to be £1,000 per tenant for a first offence and £3,000 for a repeat offence. Penalties will also apply to letting agents.

The Home Office has announced that there will be ‘pilot’ areas for these new checks and these are the areas around Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton. Other areas will be rolled out in 2015.

We have offices in the Christchurch, New Milton and the New Forest. Our Dispute Resolution team also cover Bournemouth and Poole. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Michelle or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.