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Right to Rent checks launch date announced

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  • 20/10/2015
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Right to Rent checks launch date announced
All private landlords in England will be required to carry out immigration checks on tenants before letting out a property from 1 February next year, the government has announced.

Landlords could face penalties of up to £3,000 if they fail to check a potential tenant’s Right to Rent.

A pilot of the scheme was rolled out in parts of the West Midlands last year as part of the Immigration Act.

Earlier this month, shadow home secretary Andy Burnham criticised the scheme, saying that Right to Rent in its current form could ‘lead to widespread discrimination’.

According to research published by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, 42% of landlords said that the scheme will make them less likely to lease a property to someone who does not have a British passport, while 27% expressed reluctance to engage with tenants with foreign names or accents.

The Home Office said landlords should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies. Commonly available documents that can be used to evidence a tenants right to rent in England include:

  • a UK passport
  • a European Economic Area passport or identity card
  • a permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain
  • a Home Office immigration status document
  • a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen

Immigration minister James Brokenshire said despite the new rules, most ‘responsible landlords’ were carrying out such checks as a matter of routine.

“We are providing landlords in England with all the advice and support they need before the checks go live on 1 February 2016,” he added.

“Right to Rent is about deterring those who are illegally resident from remaining in the UK. Those with a legitimate right to be here will be able to prove this easily and will not be adversely affected.

“The government’s new Immigration Bill builds on the reforms in last year’s Act, making it harder for people to live and work in the UK illegally. The Bill proposes new measures to make it easier for landlords to evict illegal tenants as well as a new criminal offence targeted at unscrupulous landlords who repeatedly fail to carry out Right to Rent checks,” Brokenshire said.

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