Update on Right to Rent sanctions and immigration

Update on Right to Rent sanctions and immigration

As you know, landlords are legally required to check identity documents for all tenants and occupiers over 18 when a new tenancy starts, and must take copies. From 1st December 2016, a new set of penalties have been added under the Immigration Act 2016.

What are the new measures?

These penalties amend the Immigration Act 2014 and make it a criminal offence for landlords and agents who knowingly, or have reasonable cause to believe, let to illegal immigrants.

Why have they been brought in?

The offences are part of wider Government measures to tackle illegal immigration, and aim to make it easier for private landlords to evict illegal migrant tenants.

What this means for you

From 1st December 2016, landlords could be charged with a criminal offence if they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, they are letting to an adult who is disqualified from occupying the premises due to their immigration status.

The Act introduces a new route for landlords to evict illegal immigrant tenants for tenancies entered into either before or after 1st December 2016.

A landlord will be able to terminate the tenancy agreement if the Secretary of State has given a notice to the landlord, which states the tenant is disqualified from occupying the premises as a result of their immigration status.

There’s a new form of prescribed notice the landlord may serve on the tenant giving 28 days’ notice.

Where the tenancy is an assured or assured shorthold tenancy, a court order will not be needed in order to obtain possession.

Disqualified tenants and occupiers in these circumstances will not be protected by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.

Any unscrupulous landlords and agents who exploit migrants and who consistently flout the law by failing to carry out Right to Rent checks, or fail to take steps to remove illegal migrants from their property, may face imprisonment for up to 5 years, a fine of £3000 or both.

Letting agents face similar consequences to landlords and will be held accountable if they know or have reasonable cause to believe the property has been let to, or is occupied by, a disqualified adult.

You can find out more about how this affects you here:

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