Whether you are a landlord or letting agent, the rules are clear that you have a legal responsibility to ensure your tenants are not illegal immigrants. The Immigration Act sets out to ensure that the private rental market is working according to these new rules in order that illegal immigrants are not living in the UK. So with regard to the Immigration Act 2014 – are you prepared?
Immigration is a hot political potato right now with parties throwing opinions in ahead of the Election on how aspects of immigration should be handled. As a private landlord this means it is your duty to carry out immigration checks on potential new tenants. You will need to check the passport or residents biometric permit as part of the application process. Should your prospective new tenants not have the required documents you can simply go online at the Home Office and fill in a form that should only take couple days to give you the required information.
If a landlord is found to have not done these checks, there is a fine of up to £3,000. Currently this system is in place in the West Midlands, but after review the Home Office will be rolling it out to apply to the rest of the country during 2015. These checks need to be kept for 12 months and will apply to anyone over 18 living at the property on new tenancy agreements starting on or after 1st December 2014.
As a private landlord your may want to indemnify yourself against the risk and consider using a managing agent to rent out your portfolio. In this case, the responsibility would be on the agent to make sure all relevant checks were done and documentation kept for 12 months. The agent would accept responsibility on your behalf and should report any findings back to you. Should an agent report that an individual does not have the right to reside in the UK and the landlord subsequently grants permission, then the landlord will be liable for a penalty.
Here at Tortoise Property we are already prepared to deal with this. You can use our Marketing Tool kit to ensure we attract the right kind of fully referenced tenants to you in the shortest time possible. For more information contact 01733 592020 , or email us at email@example.com.