Rights to rent provisions of Immigration Act 2016 came into force on 1 December 2016
The “right to rent” scheme came into force on 1 February 2016. This scheme requires landlords of residential premises to check the immigration status of prospective tenants and other occupiers and to ascertain whether those parties have the right to be in the UK. If landlords and agents fail to comply, they may be fined up to 3,000.
The Immigration Act 2016 (IA 2016) has now come into force and amends the scheme to introduce new provisions.
The new provisions create criminal offences for landlords and agents who fail to carry out right to rent checks or fail to take steps to remove illegal immigrants from their properties, as well as provisions which make it easier for landlords to evict illegal immigrant tenants from their properties.
A person will not have a right to rent if:
– They require leave to enter or remain in the UK but do not have it;
– Their leave to enter or remain in the UK is subject to a condition preventing them from occupying the dwelling-house.
The three new provisions
1. There are now criminal sanctions for landlords that fail to comply with their ‘right to rent’ obligations
A landlord will commit an offence if:
1) The premises are occupied by an adult who is disqualified as a result of their immigration status from occupying premises under a residential tenancy agreement, AND
2) The landlord knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the premises are occupied by an adult who is disqualified as a result of their immigration status from occupying premises under a residential tenancy agreement
Both conditions above have to be met for the landlord to commit an offence.
A person is disqualified if they:
– Are not a relevant national;
– And do not have a right to rent.
In most instances the Secretary of State will have notified the landlord in writing that the adult is disqualified.
If the landlord has taken reasonable steps to terminate the residential tenancy agreement then this can be used as a defence if the landlord is charged with committing an offence.
These new offences are serious ones to note for both landlords and agents as if found guilty, they can carry up to 5 years imprisonment.
2. A new power for a landlord to terminate a residential tenancy where the secretary of state has served a notice stating that the occupiers are disqualified from occupying the premises as a result of their immigration status
If the landlord has received a notice from the Secretary of State which identifies the occupier and states that the occupier is disqualified as a result of their immigration status, the landlord may terminate the agreement.
The landlord may terminate the agreement by giving notice in writing specifying that date on which the tenancy comes to an end. The landlord must give at least 28 days notice. This is an implied term and therefore it does not matter that it is not expressly stated within the agreement.
3. There is a new ground for mandatory possession which relates to tenants or adult occupiers of premises whose immigration status disqualifies them from occupying those premises
If the secretary of state has given notice in writing to the landlord which identifies the tenant who is occupying the dwelling-house as a person disqualified as a result of their immigration status from occupying the dwelling-house under the tenancy, then the requirements will have been met for the court to make a possession order.