The new law has been active since the 1st February 2016 and means that private landlords, including any that sub-let or take on lodgers, are now obligated to check that their potential tenant has the right to be living within the UK. Any landlord that fails to check the rights of the prospective tenant will be faced with a penalty of up to £3,000 per illegal tenant.
The new law has been introduced as part of the Immigration Act 2014 and has come about as part of the government’s scheme to build an immigration system that is fairer and more effective. At first, the law was tested out in parts of the West Midlands, but since the 1st February it has now become a national law.
James Brokenshire, the Immigration Minister, has said:
“We have made it so the right to rent checks are easy to do in a short amount of time, a lot of landlords had already carried out the checks before the law was put in place. We have provided landlords around the country with any advice and support that they may need about the checks.”
The law has been made to decrease the number of illegal immigrants that enter and remain in the UK. Anybody that is legally allowed to live in the country should be able to easily prove this and the law will not affect them at all.
The new Immigration Bill has been built on last year’s Act and its aim is to make it harder for people to illegally work and live in the UK. The law has introduced ways to make it easier for illegal tenants to be evicted, but it now also targets any criminal landlords who continually fail to check that their tenants have a right to rent.
A panel of experts have been working with the government to produce the application and evaluate the scheme. The panel included representatives from the Equality and Human Right Commission, local authorities, and a homelessness charity called Crisis, there were also landlords and letting agents on the panel.
If a tenant has an immigration application that is outstanding, or if the Home Office has appealed their right to live in the UK, then the landlords can easily check the tenant’s ‘right to rent’ through the Landlords Checking Service .
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