New 'Right to rent' checks come into force in December

29 Oct 2014

From 1 December, landlords in the West Midlands area will be required to carry out new checks on their tenants to ensure they have the right to live in the UK.

As part of the Immigration Act, private landlords will now need to check that someone has the right to live in the UK before letting a property to them. These measures will come into force from 1 December and will apply to landlords with properties in Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

The right to rent checks are simple to complete. A British or European national can satisfy the check, for example, by showing a passport, or a full birth certificate and driving licence. Migrants who are lawfully working in the UK can pass the checks by providing a biometric residence permit.

Landlords will face a civil penalty if they are found to be letting property to people who are here illegally. A sliding scale of penalties will mean heavier fines for those who persistently rent to illegal migrants or rent to multiple illegal migrants, with fines reaching £3,000.

However, landlords and agents will not be penalised if they are misled by a skilful forgery, provided they record that they have performed the necessary checks. The purpose of these penalties is to crack down on rogue landlords, not to penalise reputable landlords.

Elyn Goldsmith

Written by Elyn Goldsmith, an Endsleigh colleague. 

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