New duty to check tenants’ immigration status

16 September 2014

The Immigration Act 2014 received Royal Assent on May 14, 2014 and, despite the objections made by the CLA and others it contains significant new developments that will affect private residential landlords. 

It requires private landlords to ensure that prospective tenants are in the UK legally. The Act mirrors the current requirements on employers to ensure employees are lawfully entitled to work in the UK. The Act introduces financial (civil) penalties for landlords who let properties to individuals who are “disqualified” by the legislation. This scheme will not apply to existing tenancies (nor to renewals of those tenancies) and checks will only need to be carried out on new tenants from the implementation date.

The Act was due to come into force in October 2014 following parliamentary approval. However, the Home Office has just announced the ‘pilot’ areas for the landlord immigration check requirement under the Act as part of a phased introduction across the country. The areas are Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton. The requirement will come in to force in those areas on 1 December 2014, with other areas to follow at unspecified dates in 2015.

The CLA has produced a guidance note for members explaining what this means for landlords, which can be found here.