Controversial new rules that require landlords to conduct of prospective tenants’ immigration status have begun.
The new regime is being piloted in the West Midlands, before being rolled out across the country during 2015.
Under the new rules, landlords will face a £3,000 fine if they fail to check whether the tenant has the legal right to rent in the UK.
Landlords will be required to ask for proof of identity and citizenship. In some cases they may be required to use a Home Office telephone helpline or the online ‘right to rent’ tool to confirm checks.
The government claims that the new rules are necessary to protect tenants. Security and immigration minister James Brokenshire said the changes will “act as a new line of attack against unscrupulous landlords who exploit people by renting out overcrowded and unsafe accommodation.”
But the changes have been heavily criticised by landlord groups and opposition politicians. When the plans were first debated in Parliament last May, Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart said they were unworkable: “I am not sure how a landlord is supposed to prove to their own satisfaction whether someone is qualified or not. In order to operate the proposal sensibly, it will require a register of landlords.”
Last month the Home Office contributed an article to Simply Business outlining the new rules. Read more about right to rent.