From 1st December, UK landlords will be required by law to check the immigration status of all prospective tenants to ensure that they have the right to rent in the country. New research, though, reveals that 8 in 10 have never even heard of the legislation.
The survey, conducted by EasyRoommate.co.uk, found that 80 per cent of respondents had never even heard of the Right-to-Rent legislation, while the 20 per cent of landlords who had were unaware of when it would come into effect.
The scheme will begin on a trial basis in the West Midlands, with landlords with properties in Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton checking the “right to rent” of tenants in these areas, even if they do not live in the area themselves.
Checks will need to be made on all adults aged 18 or over who are using the property as their only or main residence. The checks will only apply to new tenancies, though, so there is no requirement to check the immigration status of existing tenants.
When asked if they plan on implementing the checks, 30 per cent said they did not intend to comply with the legislation, while 75 per cent were either unsure or assumed there would be no penalty for non-compliance. All landlords must be fully aware that the new provisions will include a civil penalty scheme to penalise rogue landlords who rent to illegal migrants, which will be based on a sliding scale with heavier fines for those who persistently fail to carry out the checks.
Maya Harruna, Easyroommate.co.uk spokesperson states: “Considering the harsh financial penalties, it is essential that homeowners are made fully aware of all aspects and can confirm if the new rules apply to them or not.”
Indeed, there are a number of exemptions, including accommodation provided by a local authority or the Northern Ireland Housing Executive where they are under a statutory duty to do so (including where the tenant is placed into the private rented sector), hostels and refuges, tied accommodation (provided by an employer) and halls of residence for students or any accommodation provided for students directly by a higher educational institution.
In most cases, landlords will be able to complete the checks without contacting the Home Office by simply requesting and copying original documents, such as a passport. Landlords will need to photocopy and retain these documents as evidence for a year after the tenancy ends.
Source: The Movechannel