One Year On: 91 landlords punished under right to rent rules
It has been revealed that since the Right to Rent scheme was rolled out one year ago this week, a total of 91 landlords have been issued with civil penalties and fined a total of almost £30,000.
According to the latest figures published by the Government, 667 enquiries have been made to the Home Office’s landlords checking services specifically regarding tenants without the right to rent.
Under the Immigration Act 2014 it has been an offence to knowingly let a property to an illegal immigrant since 1st February 2016, as part of Government reforms to build a ‘fairer and more effective’ immigration system. Landlords are also legally obliged to carry out follow up checks if someone has a time-limited right to rent and are responsible for reporting those without right to rent to the Home Office. Those who do not carry out the checks properly or fail to move illegal migrants from their property face up to five years in jail and unlimited fines, as of December 2016.
Furthermore, a recent poll undertaken by the TR Group in the last quarter of 2016 worryingly revealed that 50% of 1,000 landlords where unaware of any such legislation being in place at all – meaning that circa. one million landlords are risking imprisonment of up to five years and/or an unlimited fine for failing to comply.
Divulged by Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill MP, in response to written Parliamentary questions from Stuart McDonald MP, Mr Goodwill said: “Home Office records show that in response to landlords making enquiries through the Landlords Checking Service, the Home Office has issued 503 responses during phase 1 of the scheme and 5,446 during phase 2. Of these, 62 responses during phase 1 and 605 responses during phase 2 were in respect of those without the right to rent.”
He also revealed that the majority of offences related to lodgers living in England without a right to rent in the UK – and confirmed none of the landlords involved had appealed the penalties.
He added: “Phase 1 of the right to rent scheme ran in the West Midlands from 1 December 2014 to 31 January 2016. Phase 2 of the scheme started across England from 1 February 2016.
“During phase 1 of the scheme, 15 landlords were issued with a civil penalty. Since the start of phase 2 of the scheme, 91 landlords have been issued with a civil penalty. All were first time penalties. 55 related to lodgers in a private household and 51 related to occupiers in rented accommodation.
“There have been no appeals under the scheme. The total amount collected from the scheme up to 13 December 2016 is £29,575.31.”
At Tenant Referencing UK we have our very own Home Office Compliant TR Immigration Document Checking Service for landlords and letting agents.
Not only can our new service verify whether a tenant has the right to rent in the UK, it is also the cheapest and most comprehensive Immigration Check available on the buy to let market (to-date); at £5 (5 credits) per report.