The government has issued guidance for landlords on their new responsibilities to check tenants’ immigration status.
From this autumn, landlords in specific parts of the country will be legally obliged to check that potential tenants have the legal right to live in the UK. The scheme may then be rolled out across the country from next year.
Landlords or agents who are required to conduct the checks but fail to do so could receive a civil penalty of up to £3,000.
The Home Office fact sheet explains landlords’ responsibilities, and sets out the steps the government is taking to make the checks possible.
According to the document the Home Office will establish a new online and phone-based service through which landlords can get more information and, in more complex cases, conduct checks.
In the meantime, the government is directing landlords and tenants to an existing online service used to check whether individuals have the right to work in the UK.
The new requirements have been widely criticised by landlord and agents’ groups for placing an unfair burden on the private rented sector, and for transferring responsibilities away from the Border Agency.
But the government maintains that the checks are necessary in order to “make it harder for illegal immigrants to rent accommodation.”