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Checks for Illegal Immigrants before letting on the way

Landlords and Letting Agents in the private rented sector in Worcestershire may soon have to carry out checks to establish that new tenants have the right to rent in the UK due to the Immigration Act 2014.

The government wants to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to rent accommodation.  From 1st December 2014, landlords of residential premises and letting agents in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton are required to carry out checks to ensure that a person has the right to live in the UK before letting a property and this may apply to other parts of the country (including Worcestershire) from sometime in 2015.

For private residential premises in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton, landlords and their letting agents are now required to carry out right to rent checks for new tenancy agreements (and not for existing tenancies) in relation to all adults (aged 18 and over) who are to live at the property.  Failure to do so, or knowingly allowing illegal immigrants to rent their properties, could result in a civil penalty of up to £3,000.

The Home Office’s website ( stresses that private landlords will probably only be required to carry out simple checks to ensure that a proposed tenant is entitled to be in this country, such as obtaining and copying the passport or biometric residence permit.  Details of the checks required to be carried out will be available on the website.

There are certain exemptions where there will be no need to carry out checks such as Student Accommodation, including all halls of residence, any accommodation provided for students directly by a Higher Educational Institution (HEI) and residency agreements in private residential properties where the student has been nominated to occupy the property by a HEI.

The Home Office have also published a Code of Practice for landlords on avoiding unlawful discrimination when conducting “right to rent” checks in the private residential sector, which is available on their website.

Landlords and letting agents in Worcestershire should keep an eye on the press, check the website or contact Mark Blake at Parkinson Wright in Worcester (on 01905 726 789) if you want to know when it is likely that this will come into force in Worcestershire.

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