Landlords – Are you aware of the change in legislation?
The Government announced yesterday that from 1 February 2016 private landlords in England will have to check whether prospective tenants have the right to live in the UK before renting out property.
So what is the Right to Rent?
The Right to Rent checks were brought in under the Immigration act 2014 as part of the Governments stricter reforms on immigration. New rules introduced mean that landlords will face penalties of up to £3,000 if they do not check the right of new tenants to be living in the country.
“Right to rent checks are quick and simple, and many responsible landlords already do them 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.
The new rules are part of the Immigration Act 2014 which introduced measures to reform the immigration system. 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.”
But despite their assurances, the move has caused widespread controversy and criticism, with many claiming the Government are using landlords as border control. Speaking in the Independent on Sunday, Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham warned:
“On this evidence, Right to Rent in its current form could lead to widespread discrimination. Of course, we have come a long way as a society since landlords displayed unwelcoming notices in their windows. But the new document checks could become the modern equivalent of the ‘no dogs, no blacks, no Irish’ signs and, by being more insidious, such casual discrimination will be far harder to challenge.”
Gov.UK states: “Under right to rent, landlords should check identity documents for all new tenants and take copies. If a potential tenant has an outstanding immigration application or appeal with the Home Office, landlords can conduct a check on that person’s ‘right to rent’ via the Landlords Checking Service.”
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