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Landlords Gear up for Legislation Change

Tuesday, 26th January 2016

Categories: Lettings

Author: Charlotte Delph

From 16 February, landlords will be required to seek proof from would-be tenants that they are legally allowed to reside in Britain. The ‘Right to Rent’ scheme is the most recent act by the Home Office to attempt to stem the tide of illegal immigrants into the UK. By asking tenants to show documentation of their legal status, it is believed that the UK will become a less attractive and more difficult destination to settle in illegally. Original documents must be provided and, should the tenant require a renewed visa at any point during their tenancy, it is also the landlord’s responsibility to check this has been obtained.

While many landlords are in favour of the scheme, the onus is very much on them to gain the information – if they don’t, they could face a £3,000 fine. And while this might go some way to ensuring that rental properties are reserved for those who have genuine rights to rent them, there are fears that it could simply open up a rental ‘black market’. Rogue landlords might be prepared to bypass the checks in order to rent less salubrious, and potentially dangerous, properties to vulnerable people who then completely disappear off the radar.

There is also the possibility of landlords favouring potential tenants with British or European passports, as a failsafe mechanism when it comes to ascertaining legal residency rights. Again, this could push certain groups into the hands of less scrupulous landlords. There is the belief held by many that this is an issue that should be addressed by border control. Is it really the responsibility of landlords to decide whether individuals have the correct credentials to remain resident in the UK?

With a whole wave of new legislation currently affecting landlords, many feel that they are getting a raw deal from the government at the moment. With new tax laws for capital gains, and changes to tenancy agreements in the offing, there’s a great deal more pressure on landlords to be exacting when it comes to preparing and maintaining properties, and looking after tenants’ best interests. And while this is certainly good news for tenants, it could lead to rent rises – a negative consequence for precisely the demographic that some of these laws are designed to protect.

Before its UK-wide introduction this month, Right to Rent was introduced across the West Midlands to trial the scheme. And with the scheme now live across the UK, landlords will be resigning themselves to taking on another level of admin in order to satisfy legal requirements.

Peter Barry as standard take copies of passports and Visas (if applicable) as part of our thorough in house referencing process.