Compliance to Immigration Act 2014 by Private Landlords

On 14th may 2014 the immigration bill received royal assent. In this bill provisions related to private lettings are introduced. According to this new Act from 1st December 2014 the private landlords need to check immigration status of tenants as a requirement both before they rent, and on an ongoing basis.
Govt will be checking system as trial in areas of Dudley, Walsall, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Sandwell and rest are to follow most probably in 2015.
The Act will cover most of the residential tenancies except student accommodations, leases over 7 years in length rental and agreements entered into before the Act came into force or agreements which are renewed subsequently as long as there is no break in occupation.
Now more burden is on landlords as if there is failure to comply it may lead to heavy fines. Landlords, both current and new need to understand the requirements so that they may know how to comply with them.
Reason behind these amendments is to crackdown on landlords who are providing illegal and substandard residence to tenants. All those landlords who do not comply with requirements of checking under this Act will be fined up to £3,000 for repeat offending and there will be no right of appeal.
It is duty of landlord to examine and check the documentation of tenant to determine if a tenant has ‘right to rent’. If tenant’s right to stay in UK is limited then a follow up check will also be required under this Act. After checking if it occurs that landlord cannot lrt the property to the proposed tenant, the landlord will require to report the Home office. If landlord fails doing so he may be imposed fine.
A landlord may transfer the responsibility to agents in this regard. It is likely that agents will charge for this service.
People with ‘right to rent’ shall include British citizens, nationals of an EEA State, Swiss nationals and it shall also include those with leave to enter and remain in the UK
Most likely the Act will not be actively rolled out throughout the country till the general elections 2015.meanwhile the landlord should start thinking that how they will be complying the requirement prescribed thereto.
If landlord is using services of an agent then the terms of agency agreement should also be reviewed to make agent comply with requirements under this Act.
Landlord should start thinking about how they will be managing the situation now.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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