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What penalty could I face as landlord for renting to illegal immigrants?

On the 1st of Dec 2014 the government is implementing the section of the New Immigration Act 2014 which deals with landlords and agents checks on tenants’ right to be in the UK.

The scheme starts with a pilot in the West Midlands, in particular any new tenancy agreements signed after 1st of Dec 2014 in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Walsall and Sandwell.

Tenants who have an unlimited right to rent are British and EEA and Swiss nationals and there will be no liability for a civil penalty against landlords. However for those with time limitations on their leave, landlords can be liable for a civil penalty unless checks are made and they have a defence.

There will be a category of tenant who will have a discretionary right to rent. It is not yet clear at the time of writing who will benefit from such a right or how it will be granted.

Lastly there may be tenants who have no leave in the UK and thus no right to rent. If they are permitted to rent a property after 1st of Dec 2014, the landlord will be liable to a civil penalty which could be up to £3000 per illegal tenant.

There are very specific requirements of the type of documents you as landlord will need to be checked and you will have to retain very specific copies for up to 1 year after the lease or tenancy expired. The checks will also include lodgers living with the landlords and sub-letting. 

A system called Landlord Checking Service will be set up where landlords can check the right to rent during follow up appointments for those with no documentation available or those whose leave has expired but claims having pending applications. If they haven’t, then the landlord has a duty to make a report to the Home Office within a certain timescale.

To avoid being held liable and receiving a penalty, get early legal advice by contacting one of our specialist team in our Birmingham office, conveniently situated in the City Centre.  

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