Starting in West Midlands: checks for ‘Right to rent’

As a result of new legislation that is soon to commence in the UK, house owners in the West Midlands who display failure to confirm if a potential tenants are legally in the country are to pay a $3,000 fine.
Where the checks are to be first made are the Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sanwell, Walsall, and Birmingham areas.
Landlords are now required by law to request to see proof of a person’s citizenship and identity.
In situations where a passport is unavailable or cannot be provided, the landlords can make additional checks through a website of the government.
James Brokenshire the minister of securities said the policy would serve as a new means of attack against dubious landlords who take advantage of people by giving out accommodation that is unsafe and overcrowded.
‘Highly competitive’

The Home Office stated that as a result of a review of the implementation next spring in the West Midlands, it had the expectation of a continuation with the introduction in phases of the checks all over the UK in 2015.
As a result of the Immigration Act 2014, landlords are now required to ask for and sight any form of identification, for example the biometric residency permit which is a legal form of government identification issued by the British government through the Home Office, or a passport. And the potential tenants are expected to provide any of these documents once they have been requested of such by their prospective landlords.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office stated that in many situations landlords should be capable of carrying out and effecting the checks by themselves by simply requesting to sight and review the permit or passport and then making a photocopy and storing it, without necessarily having to make a request to further review the right of a person to be resident in the UK through the website www.gov.uk. The reviews are simple and straightforward and can easily be administered by any landlord without the need for them to go through the government website at www.gov.uk for additional checks, except where they are not satisfied with the permits and/or passports obtained from such prospective tenants which would warrant such additional/further checks at the website.

The spokeswoman further stated that in a small number of situations, landlords can also make a request for a check utilizing the website’s ‘right to rent’ device, such as if a prospective tenant is not in possession of their documents because it is still undergoing and ongoing application at the Home Office.
The National landlords Association’s representative for West Midlands Mary Latham said that because the lettings market is an arena that is very competitive it is quite conceivable that many landlords would decide to favor tenants who are low risk or those who have clear-cut legal rights to UK residency.

She stated further that as a result of the new legislation and the need to be law abiding, the NLA admonishes every landlord to look at the guidance on illegal discrimination of the Home Office in addition to the Code of Practice, which comprises a list of documents which are acceptable to use in the verification of the immigration status of a prospective tenant.