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New Right To Rent Immigration Legislation Now In Force

New Right To Rent Immigration Legislation Now In Force

New Immigration Legislation Dictates That Landlords Can Only
Let To Tenants Who Have The Right To Rent

As of today, 1st December 2014, new legislation has come into force in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton. The requirement will come in to force in those areas dictating that all UK private rented sector landlords must only let properties to immigrants that have the right to rent property in the UK and the landlords of the West Midlands are the legislative guinea pigs.

The introduction of the Right To Rent law has particular importance to UK PRS landlords who house foreign nationals or operate Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO’s or multi-let properties) and those landlords using Rent 2 Rent (R2R) strategies.

Under the Immigration Bill (2014) private rented sector landlords are responsible for checking the immigration status of all potential tenants, with fines of up to £3000 (GBP) for landlords who fail to conduct this procedure. Employers will also face “more substantial” fines for employing illegal immigrants.

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UKALA Has Serious Concerns About Immigration Bill

UKALA Has Serious Concerns About Immigration Bill

Immigration Bill Concerns Highlighted To Government

The UK Association of Letting Agents (UKLA) has voiced some serious concerns over the introduction of the Government’s new Immigration Bill.

The concerns were raised by UKALA Executive Caroline Kenny to Parliament’s Public Bill Committee after the UKLA were called to give evidence on behalf of letting agents.
Ms Kenny used the opportunity to bring letting agents’ doubts over the enforcement and responsibilities of the proposals to the immigration minister’s attention highlighting the UKLA’s concerns over restricting access to all but low risk tenants.

The UKLA were asked to give evidence to the Public Bill Committee following lengthy discussions with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Home Office.

UK Association of Letting AgentsSpeaking after the evidence session, Caroline Kenny commented, “Whilst letting agents are well equipped to carry our checks, and do so on behalf of landlord clients every day, the legal requirement to periodically monitor and report on the immigration status of tenants could affect their ability to conduct business and the safety of their staff. UKALA is deeply concerned that the Bill’s requirements will further restrict access to housing for people from outside of the UK, or with non-standard requirements. Many areas of the UK have very competitive lettings markets and it is entirely conceivable that landlords will instruct agents to favour those tenants they perceive as ‘low risk’. UKALA agrees that landlords and letting agents should act responsibly to ensure that only tenants with the proper permission to reside in the UK are granted new private tenancies. However, we believe it is not appropriate to make housing professionals responsible for policing country’s borders.”

The views shared by many UK landlords with rental portfolios within the private rented sector are more defined, they don’t want the added responsibility of having to carry out these checks on tenants immigration status, they are in the business of renting out property to tenants that can afford the rent, not being unpaid agents of the UK Border Agency performing personal vetting services.

Tenant referencing services are going to become a vital mainstay of all UK PRS landlords’ operational procedures if they are to stay within the confines of the Government new proposals, this creates business opportunities for service providers.

RLA Argue Over Wording of Immigration Bill

Government Listen To Reason Over Immigration Bill

Government Listen To Reason Over Immigration Bill

 The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) have won a victory for private rental sector (PRS) landlords after raising concerns that it would have imposed a double penalty on landlords and effectively legalised squatting.

The RLA had a meeting with Immigration Minister, Mark Harper on 17th October and highlighted the concerns of its landlord members over the wording of the Bill.

Clause 17 of the proposed Immigration Bill was originally ambiguously worded and the RLA have argued that unless the specific wording of Clause 17 were to be left as it was, it would see landlords facing a double penalty for breaching legislation. Landlords would face hefty fines and be unable to enforce the payment of rent and they would be unable to take back possession of the property, allowing the tenants to reside in rental properties rent free.

Under the current wording of Clause 17, landlords could argue against the fine by checking identity documents that were not obvious forgeries but they would lose the right to claim rent for the property because the tenant was residing illegally in the country pending deportation or an appeal.

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