Landlords will face jail for failing to carry out ‘Right to Rent’ checks

The government has announced that a new immigration bill which is set to be debated this autumn will force landlords to evict residents that have not been granted the right to remain. The scheme, which is currently being tested in the West Midlands will require homeowners to check the immigration status of tenants.

According to Communities Secretary Greg Clark, the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme is aimed at cracking down on rogue landlords who are renting out either dangerous, dirty or overcrowded properties to immigrants whose status in the country is questionable. The new legislation will create a blacklist of persistent rogue landlords and letting agents, helping councils to target enforcement action.

The bill will also bring in new punishments for those property owners and managers who persistently fail to carry out ‘right to rent checks’ and/or fail to remove illegal immigrants from their properties. Those found guilty of committing this new offence will face a fine, jail sentence or further sanctions under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

However, the National Landlords Association has warned that the new system could drive vulnerable people into the arms of “rogue operators”. With the UK Association of Letting Agents adding “it is not appropriate to make housing professionals responsible for policing the country’s borders.” Many believe that the checks could also restrict access to housing for people who have legally migrated to the country from overseas.

The government announcement comes at a time when immigration is a particularly hot topic. Home Secretary, Theresa May, has warned that this will be just the start of a host of new laws intended to change the impression that Britain’s ‘streets are lined with gold’. The migrant crisis in Calais has been covered extensively by the media. In a joint article for the Sunday Telegraph, Theresa May and French Home Secretary Bernard Cazeneuve wrote about the importance of breaking the link between “crossing the Mediterranean and achieving settlement in Europe”. The statement continues “Ultimately, the long-term answer to this problem lies in reducing the number of migrants who are crossing into Europe from Africa. Many see Europe, and particularly Britain, as somewhere that offers the prospect of financial gain. This is not the case.”

The new bill will have an immediate impact on the lives of those who are already involved in the immigration process, and landlords who either knowingly, or unknowingly, are housing people who have entered the country illegally. For many, now could be an important time to consider legal advice.

The Immigration Advice Service offers expert advice and help to anyone who may find themselves affected by the upcoming changes in legislation. The team of legal professionals at IAS are perfectly positioned to assist with most enquiries. Should it be found that you do have a case, you will be assigned a specialist who will guide you through the full process. As with any legal issue, if you are unsure, get in touch. Together we can find a solution. Get the process started by calling us on 0844 887 0111.

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