From 1 February 2016, all residential landlords and individuals who sublet their property out or takes lodgers in must carry out a “rent check” on all prospective tenants before granting a new tenancy.
This scheme was first introduced in the West Midlands in December 2014 and is now being rolled out to the remainder of the UK.
Therefore, as of today, it is a landlord’s responsibility to check the nationality and immigration status of prospective tenants and other authorised occupiers. These checks must be completed before granting a new tenancy and can be made up to 28 days before the tenancy is scheduled to commence.
It is therefore crucial that all landlords are aware of this new law as failure to adhere could result in a civil penalty of up to £3,000. This penalty will be made against any landlord, or agent acting on behalf of the landlord, found to be letting a property to individuals who do not have the right to stay in the UK.
This new law will be contained within the Immigration Act 2014 and shall permit landlords to deny the grant of a new tenancy to individuals based on their immigration status. The act also goes further and provides landlords the ability to evict (in certain cases) tenants on an existing tenancy without obtaining a Court Order first. This is sure to cause a stir within the property arena, whilst solicitors, barristers, estate agents and even mortgage lenders grapple to make sense of this new legislation and how it will affect their clients alike. Watch this space!
In an attempt to assist landlords, the government has made available a new helpful online checking tool regarding this new process. Please find a link here - https://www.gov.uk/landlord-immigration-check
Alternatively, if you would like to speak with one of our property specialists regarding these new rules and how they will affect you in relation to new and existing tenancies, please contact: Lana Farrell, Head of Conveyancing, Jojar Singh, Associate Solicitor or Peter Booker, Solicitor who will be happy to assist you.