Well here it is at last, after all the rhetoric about landlords coming under the legislation to check migrants’ legal status to remain in the country, the government has announced the pilot areas where it will be implemented.
The areas in which landlords must carry out the “right to rent” checks before they can rent out their properties, is in the West Midlands.
James Brokenshire, the Immigration and Security Minister, has decreed that Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton will be the first pilot areas to enforce the new measures of the Immigration Act, before the oncoming nationally phased rollout.
If private landlords do not follow the new legislation and carry out the “right to rent” checks to the letter of the law, then they could receive fines of up to £3000.
James Brokenshire said: ‘We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who abuse the system or flout the law. The right to rent checks will be quick and simple, but will make it more difficult for immigration offenders to stay in the country when they have no right to be here. They will also act as a new line of attack against unscrupulous landlords who exploit people by renting out substandard, overcrowded and unsafe accommodation. Landlords in the West Midlands will have all the advice and support they need in advance of the checks going live on 1 December.’
From December private landlords within the pilot areas will be required to see documents that prove the prospective tenant’s identity, citizenship or “right to stay”. Documents supplying this information will be either a biometric residence permit or a passport.
These types of residency checks are already carried out by some landlords and usually people who are renting have these documents to hand. The government says that in the majority of cases, the landlords will not need to contact the Home Office.
The government explains that the documents will have to be copied and kept for one year after the tenancy has finished.Children under 18 will not need to be checked.
The evaluation process of the pilot areas will be carried out early next year and then the government expects to start phasing in the checks across the UK, throughout 2015.