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Right to Rent checks – Landlords and Letting Agents beware!

From 1 December 2016 landlords need to check tenants right to rent and comply with new provisions concerning illegal immigrants.

Whilst some of these new provisions are welcomed, others may be of concern to landlords.

Previously if a landlord found that an existing tenant is an illegal immigrant they could not evict them from the property but the new provisions do allow landlords to evict such tenants more easily, and, in some circumstances, without a court order.

However, Landlords should also be aware that the new provisions also introduce four new criminal offences.

Landlords that fail to conduct “Right to Rent checks” or who fail to take steps to remove illegal immigrants from a property can face:-

  • unlimited fines
  • up to five years’ imprisonment
  • sanctions under the Proceeds of Crime Act if convicted
  • in addition to a civil penalty of up to £3,000 per illegal immigrant for tenancies that already exist.

Whilst the government has made clear these new criminal offences are aimed at rogue landlords and letting agents that exploit migrants it is recommended that all landlords and agents should review their procedures to ensure that they are performing adequate checks on potential tenants and to ensure adequate status checks have been performed in respect of existing tenants.

Government guidance on Right to Rent can be found here

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