Landlords face imprisonment if new ‘right to rent’ rules not followed
The Government announced over the weekend new tougher sanctions on ‘rogue’ landlords, despite the evaluation of the ‘right to rent’ pilot scheme not yet having been published. The existing measures include the ability to impose a civil fine of up to £3,000 on landlords who are repeat offenders of the right to rent regulations. However, the ability to impose criminal sanctions on landlords shows a much stricter approach is now being considered and could be introduced as part of a new ‘Proceeds of Crime’ Bill.
The new measures have been introduced in the wake of concerns regarding unlawful migration from Calais, in an attempt to make the UK a less attractive proposition for migrants who do not have permission to live in the UK. The Communities Secretary Greg Clark, said:
‘We are determined to crack down on rogue landlords who make money out of illegal immigration – exploiting vulnerable people and undermining our immigration system. In future, landlords will be required to ensure that the people they rent their properties to are legally entitled to be in the country.’
However, there are concerns over the proposed measures. In a joint letter from the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (‘ILPA’) sent to the Times paper, the group together with a number of joint signatories, raised the concern that ‘There is no evidence that the policy will prevent migrants heading to Britain and it could exacerbate discrimination by landlords and letting agents against tenants who look or sound “foreign”.’ The letter goes on to state that they ‘are also concerned that the checks will add to a general anti-immigrant and racist atmosphere in the UK and damage race relations.’
In addition to tougher sanctions, measures within a new Immigration Bill will give Landlords powers to evict migrant tenants whose permission to live in the UK expires, in some circumstances without obtaining a court order first. These new powers would be triggered by the issuing of a notice by the Home Office that the tenant no longer has a right to rent in the UK. The Landlord would then be expected to take action to ensure that the migrant is evicted from the property.
Landlords can delegate the responsibility for carrying out checks to an agent. Right2Rent, a service offered by Paragon Law, can take on legal responsibility for immigration checks, so that Landlords can rest assured that they will not be held responsible for failures to comply with the new Rules. To find out more information about the services provided, please visit www.right2rent.co.uk/landlords.
If you are a Letting Agent, then register an account with Right2Rent to find out more information about the services we can offer to you and your Landlords.