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Residential Landlord Update – Immigration Act Implementation

We have previously wrote about the new obligations for residential landlords under the Immigration Act 2014. The government advice on the legislation has since been revised.

'Right to Rent' Checks

By late autumn this year, the rules requiring so called 'right to rent' checks are planned to be in force in a 'pilot scheme' style according to the new information published by the government, before fully phasing in. The pilot scheme will be launched soon, with landlords in the West Midlands, in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton. The changes will require residential landlords to see whether a potential tenant has the legal right to rent property, based largely upon their immigration status.

By 2015, the requirements could be mandatory for all residential landlords across England and Wales.

What will be Required

The Home Office will provide a checking service for more complex cases. What we know so far about this service is that it includes a helpline for landlords to contact, as well as a case-checking service. The case-checking service will allow landlords to get a straight yes or no answer in 2 working days on any potential tenant who has a pending immigration application with the Home Office.

Right to rent checks will only need to be carried out for new tenancy agreements. There will be no need to check the immigration status of existing tenants.

In most cases, a right to rent check will mean checking that a potential tenant (and other adults aged over 18 who will be living at the property) has certain documents, such as a passport or a biometric residence permit. Landlords will need to photocopy these documents to show that the checks have been carried out.

The government intends to publish a draft code of practice that will include guidance for landlords.

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Dated: 15/09/2014

Author: Greg Cox

Landlord - Residential Letting Contract

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