Tougher Penalties for Landlords and Agents Not Following the Right to Rent Legislation
At the start of November the Home Office announced that as of 1st December 2016, landlords who do not adhere to the Right to Rent checks will be faced with much tougher penalties introducing both civil and criminal charges to landlord who are knowingly letting to illegal migrants.
These new measures aim to create new criminal offences for landlords and agents yet also do make it easier for landlords to evict tenants who do not have the right to rent in the UK.
What is Right to Rent?
The Right to Rent scheme came into effect in England in February 2016 after being trialled in parts of the Midlands from December 2014. These checks form part of the government’s plans to tackle the wider issue of immigration in the UK and firmly put the emphasis on landlords and letting agents to complete these checks.
Who Should Carry Out Right to Rent Checks?
All private landlords in England are now obliged to check that their tenants have the right to be in the UK before contracts are finalised. The requirement to carry out these checks applies to not only private landlords but also those housing a lodger, anyone sub-letting a property, and also agents appointed by a landlords to manage the property.
The key changes which will come into effect 1st December 2016:
– Landlords could be charged with a criminal offence if they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that they are letting to an illegal migrant.
– Landlords will be able to obtain a notice from the Home Office to end tenancies for occupants without the Right to Rent.
– Most landlords who are found to be renting to illegal migrants and who have not carried out Right to Rent checks, will be dealt with under the civil penalty regime. The new offences will be targeted at the smaller number of rogue landlords who are intent on flouting the law.
“It is good to see a date for implementation; this goes some way towards addressing the issues revealed by Right to Rent checks since they were implemented earlier this year. If these measures prove to be effective in tackling rogue landlords who offer overcrowded and poor quality housing, it is nothing but a positive.
One of the key areas Landlords need to remember with these new rules is that it applies to tenancy renewals as well as new tenancies. So, whilst someone may have the Right to Rent in the UK when a tenancy is granted, they may not when a tenancy is renewed. Landlords or Letting Agents found flouting the law could be liable to pay a £3,000 civil penalty per occupier who is an illegal overstayer, and they may be personally liable to an unlimited fine, as well as the potential of up to five years in prison.”
Jones Robinson’s Approach to Right to Rent
Jones Robinson, work in close partnership with Van Mildert Tenant Referencing to ensure our landlords get the very best protection. Van Mildert carry out all background Right To Rent checks on behalf of Jones Robinson advising what documents have to be seen, copied, certified and retained, following the process down to the letter.
If you are currently self-managing a property or are unsure whether your Letting Agent has carried out the relevant Right to Rent checks, call Paul at Jones Robinson who will be happy to advise you on all things relating to property management.