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Majority of UK landlords do not know about the immigration status law change
A new survey has found that the majority of UK landlords are unaware of imminent legislation that will require them to check the immigration status of their tenants.
From 1 December, checks will need to be made on all adults aged 18 or over who are using a property as their only or main residence. Landlords that fail to carry out the checks face being hit with heavy penalties.
However, research by Easyroommate.co.uk found that that 80% of the UK's private landlords have never heard of the legislation - whilst those that have do not know exactly when it will be coming into effect.
When asked if they plan on implementing the checks when renting out their properties, 30% of landlords stated that they did not intend on complying with the new legislation, whilst a combined total of 75% were either unsure or assumed there would be no penalty for non-compliance.
All landlords must be fully aware that the new provisions will include a civil penalty scheme, to penalise rogue landlords who rent to illegal migrants and often exploit vulnerable individuals.
The penalties will be based on a sliding scale with heavier fines for those who persistently fail to carry out the right to rent checks, and those who rent to multiple illegal migrants.
Easyroommate.co.uk spokesperson Maya Harruna said: "It's unfortunate to see that not many landlords are aware of the Right to Rent legislation, especially since it is due to launch shortly. Considering the harsh financial penalties, it is essential that homeowners are made fully aware of all aspects and can confirm if the new rules apply to them or not.
According to the Home Office, there are a number of exemptions including:
- Any accommodation provided by a local authority or the Northern Ireland Housing Executive where they are under a statutory duty to do so (including where the tenant is placed into the private rented sector).
- Hostels and refuges.
- Tied accommodation (provided by an employer).
- Halls of residence for students, any accommodation provided for students directly by a higher educational institution, or tenancy agreements in private residential accommodation where a higher educational institute has nominated a student for accommodation.
In most cases, landlords will be able to complete the checks without contacting the Home Office by simply requesting and copying original documents, such as a passport, which show that the individual has the right to rent in the UK.
A British or EEA national can satisfy the check, for example, by showing a passport, or a full birth certificate and driving licence.
For the majority of migrants who are here lawfully, the checks are equally simple and can be satisfied, for example, with a biometric residence permit.
Landlords will need to photocopy and retain these documents as evidence that the check has been carried out and retain these copies for a year after the tenancy ends.