Private landlords are now required to conduct immigration status checks on their tenants.
Financial penalties of up to £3000 can be imposed on landlords who fail to undertake the immigration checks, or who rent a property to a person whose immigration status (or lack of one) means that they do not have a “right to rent”. A similar checking system for employers has been in force for some time.
Immigration status checks must be conducted before entering into a residential tenancy agreement with any adult who is to occupy the premises as their only or main home.
This obligation to carry out checks was imposed by the Immigration Act 2014 as part of the Government’s drive to clamp down on illegal migration in the UK. The aim is to prevent those who do not have permission to be in the UK from renting accommodation. The scheme came into force on 1 December 2014 and was rolled out during 2015 starting with landlords in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton. It takes effect in London on 1 February 2016.