Financial & Legal News

Residential landlords to check immigration status of tenants

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From Autumn 2014 private landlords will be required to check the eligibility of their tenants to reside in the UK.

Landlords who rent to illegal immigrants may be liable for a civil penalty of up to £3,000.

From this autumn this requirement will be phased in and will apply to new tenancy agreements only, retrospective checks are not required for existing tenancies.

Immigration Act 2014

Under the Immigration Act 2014 private landlords will have to check the status of prospective tenants, and other authorised occupiers, to ascertain whether they have the right to occupy the premises before granting a tenancy.

The requirements will apply to adults aged 18 living at the property.

Landlords must also make sure that someone’s right to occupy the premises does not lapse, imposing an even more onerous obligation.

A person is disqualified from occupying property under a residential tenancy agreement if they:-

•        Are not a "relevant national", which is:

        a British citizen;

        a national of an EEA State

        a national of Switzerland

•        Do not have a right to rent in relation to the property.

A person does not have a right to rent if they require leave to enter or remain in the UK and do not have it, or they have leave but it is subject to conditions that prevent them from occupying the premises.

Section 32 of the Immigration Act 2014 requires the Secretary of State to issue a code of practice to accompany the Act, which must include information on the factors that the Secretary of State will consider when setting the amount of a penalty under the Act. The fact sheet can be found at

A commencement date for the provisions has not been given, but the factsheet notes that implementation of the scheme will begin in October 2014. Given the potential effect of this proposal, it seems likely that there will be a pilot scheme before these provisions are brought into effect in full.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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