The Government’s “right to rent” trial begins today, 1st December. Initially being trialled in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton, the scheme requires private landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants. Landlords who then let their property to an individual without immigration permission can be fined up to £3,000.
This is a further step in the Home Office’s outsourcing of immigration control. Having already made quasi immigration officers of employers and education institutions, UKVI can now add private landlords to the list of those expected to monitor for illegal stay in the UK.
If the trial is successful the Home Office plans to extend the scheme nationwide in 2015.
Landlords will need to see evidence of a person’s identity, citizenship and immigration permission/visa status, for example a passport or biometric residence permit.
Copies of the documentation will need to be taken as evidence the checks have been carried out. Records must be retained for one year after the tenancy ends. Children under 18 need not be checked. For landlords struggling with the new requirements, a Home Office helpline is available on 0300 069 9799. A free government service to confirm whether someone has a right to rent is available at gov.uk.
The aim of the right to rent provisions is to make it more difficult for immigration offenders to stay in the UK when they have no right to be here. It is hoped they will also limit exploitation by landlords renting out substandard, overcrowded and unsafe accommodation.
If you would like assistance with your immigration matters, please contact us on +44 (0)20 7038 3980 or via firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to a specialist UK immigration solicitor.