In December 2014, the UK government instructed the first pilot scheme for landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants in the West Midlands. This pilot scheme is now due to be imposed here in London, where it will make it harder for people to reside in the city illegally.

According to Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire these “Right to Rent” checks will be quick and simple, and will also help identify immigration offenders and those who are being exploited.

With checks already having taken place in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton, the UK has seen 36,000 immigrants removed.
So with these laws coming into place, we need to be aware as to how they will affect each part of the property management chain. With a great understanding and being able to take action will help ensure that our properties are best managed.
 

Tenants

So how is this doing to directly affect each tenant? At most it won’t affect each tenant, but what the scheme will do is allow landlords to better protect the tenancy. With the legislation, landlords and estate agents are required to thoroughly check and maintain the identification of the tenants moving in. By requesting official documentation, landlords will be able to not only confirm the identity of their tenants but how long they can legally stay and live in the UK for.
It also helps as it identifies tenancies which are exploiting immigrants and the system, by aiming to prevent the renting of substandard, overcrowded and unsafe accommodation.
 

Landlords

More importantly, the new legislation is here to protect a landlord and their tenancies. Moving forward, landlords are required to see evidence of a person’s identity and citizenship e.g. a passport, a biometric residence permit or visa. If a landlord does not follow these new regulations they will then be facing fines of up to £3000.00.
New measures in the forthcoming Immigration Bill also enable landlords to evict illegal immigrants, with reasons to end a tenancy when an individual’s leave to remain in the UK ceases. Bear in mind, in some circumstances this can be done without a court order. At first, a notice is issued by the Home Office and is sent to the tenant confirming they no longer have the right to rent in the UK. It then becomes the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the tenants leave the property.


The New Legislation - What can you do?

So how do we make sure that these systems are in place? Well it’s quite easy and if consistently completed at the beginning of each tenancy, everything should run smoothly.

1. Establish the adults who will live in the property as their only or main home.
2. Obtain original versions of one or more of the acceptable documents for adult occupiers.
3. Check the documents in the presence of the holder of the documents
4. Make copies of the original document.
 

The legislation helps build on the Government’s ongoing reforms to ensure the immigration systems works in the national interest. It focuses on preventing those who are not eligible to public services and its benefits from gaining access, discourages individuals from migrating for the wrong reasons and it makes it easier for Home Office to remove those who should not be here.

All in all, the Immigration Act 2014 is working towards a clearer and more regulated system. We anticipate that the scheme will be rolled out more widely towards the end of the year and are happy to advise you on how to best manage your tenancies.