Who has the right to rent?

A landlord’s world isn’t always a simple one, particularly when it comes to keeping up to date with new rules and regulations. Now it’s not just the property that has to come up to code and pass inspection, your tenant does too.  New rules regarding your tenant’s immigration status are set to be rolled out across the country and will come into force in September this year.  What does this mean for you, the landlord? Well you could be fined £1000 for a first offence, rising to £3000 for a second.

The immigration check pilot scheme has been running in the midlands for some time now, and many landlords have been caught out.  It has also lead to higher fees for tenants, who are being charged an estimated additional £100 so landlords can complete the required checks.  The result is that many landlords are becoming more wary of renting a property to anyone who cannot easily show that they are from the UK or the European Union.

The scheme, which also has the name “right to rent” means that landlords must monitor the immigration status of their tenants and if they fail to do so they risk fines of up to £3000 per adult.  Many have been critical of the scheme since it places a heavy burden on landlords and many will be unsure of how to go about checking a person’s immigration status, as such checks take additional time and money to complete.

Whilst many landlords don’t want to discriminate, research has shown that those with more British- sounding names are more likely to be considered a possible tenants as those in the business try to “cover their backs” just to be on the safe side. These immigration checks, which demand that perspective tenants produce paperwork proving that they are legally allowed to live and work in the UK, could actually flout current discrimination laws; and tenants who feel they have been rejected unfairly could actually seek court action and gain damages of £6,600.

The new rules will see landlords become part of the front line in preventing those who have no legal right to be here from living and working in the UK and will run alongside plans to make it easier to evict illegal immigrants and shut down bank accounts held by so-called “rogue residents.”

Being a landlord is never easy, particularly when you’re faced with new legislation, but the best way to avoid being caught out is to check and double check.  Whether it is you who is doing the checking or your estate agent, make sure you have copies of all the required paperwork; for example, make sure you know they have the correct visa or nationality. To stay on the right side of the law, landlords must obtain original copies of the documents and make sure they are genuine and copy them for their records (according to the landlord’s code of practice).  Should a tenant’s visa expire before the end of tenancy it will be up to you, the landlord to make sure it is renewed and keep a copy.

If you’re not sure about the new regulations, make sure you contact Assetgrove for more information – we can help you feel more in control.

 

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