Fri 21 Nov 2014 View all news articles

New legislation could cost landlords £3,000

Landlords are being urged to prepare for the new immigration checks which will affect them from next year.

The Government are introducing legislation which will make private landlords responsible for checking tenants have the right to rent in the UK - and failure to do so will be costly.

Anyone letting a property will be responsible for conducting ongoing 'right to rent' checks. There are three stages to complying with the scheme:

1) Conduct initial right to rent checks before allowing someone aged 18 and over to live in the property;
2) Conduct follow-up checks at the appropriate date if initial checks show that the person is allowed to be in the UK for a limited time; and
3) Make a report to the Home Office if follow-up checks show that a person no longer has the right to be in the UK.

If any of these right to rent checks are not done, including follow up checks and reports, and a landlord is found to be renting to someone who does not have the right to be in the UK, they may be liable for a civil penalty. This means paying up to £3,000 per illegal tenant.

Providing evidence that the relevant checks have been carried out is equally as important and documents must be retained for 12 months after the tenancy ends.

Landlords are able to appoint an agent to carry out the checks on their behalf.

Dave Seed, head of lettings at Karl Tatler Lettings, said: "This is an immense level of responsibility that landlords will face and getting it wrong will hurt financially. We follow meticulous referencing procedures and are gearing up to be ready for the new immigration checks. Our landlords can have peace of mind that we are dealing with another one of the many complexities which letting a property entails."

The scheme is being launched on the 1st December 2014 in the West Midlands and the Home Office expects to continue with the phased introduction of checks across the UK next year.

Useful reading: Right to rent procedures for landlords 

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