Government enforces hefty fines for landlords breaking right-to-rent rules

Government enforces hefty fines for landlords breaking right-to-rent rules

0:02 AM, 23rd January 2024, About 5 months ago 12

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Landlords and letting agents who break right-to-rent rules could be hit with huge financial penalties.

In August last year, the UK government announced that agents and landlords who allow rental properties to be let to migrants who do not have the right to be in the UK will face much larger financial penalties.

The legislation has now come into force this week where landlords could face a £20,000 fine.

Landlords could face prison

The penalties will increase from £80 per lodger and £1,000 per occupier for a first breach to up to £5,000 per lodger and £10,000 per occupier.

Repeat breaches will be up to £10,000 per lodger and £20,000 per occupier, up from £500 and £3,000 respectively.

Current rules mean that as well as facing a heavy fine, landlords could face potential imprisonment for failure to check the occupier’s right to rent status.

Landlords and agents have legal responsibility

All landlords and their agents in England have a legal responsibility under the Immigration Act 2014 legislation to prevent those without lawful immigration status from accessing the private rented sector.

The Home Office says landlords must complete one of these checks before commencing a tenancy:

  • A manual right to rent check (all citizens)
  • A right to rent check using Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) via the services of an Identity Service Provider (IDSP) (British and Irish citizens only)
  • A Home Office online right to rent check (non-British and non-Irish Citizens)

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Comments

Darren Peters

9:42 AM, 23rd January 2024, About 5 months ago

I've never understood this madness. There are three parties in such a scenario.

The government that is supposed to be responsible for controlling our borders and stopping people being here if they shouldn't be.

Then there is the person that is not allowed to be here so is breaking the law.

Finally there is a landlord who is to be fined or imprisoned for the incompetence of the government and the crime of the criminal.

Martin Roberts

9:44 AM, 23rd January 2024, About 5 months ago

Border Force can’t do the job, obviously landlords should do it for them.

Oh, and don’t appear to be racist.

LordOf TheManor

10:31 AM, 23rd January 2024, About 5 months ago

If you take a tenant who has the right to rent for a limited period, say up to 5 years with the correct visa in place, but someone who hasn't reached the time when they can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) - how are you supposed to remove them from your property if they remain your tenants yet can't achieve this status?

Getting ILR is neither cheap nor easy. English language proficiency test (at a fee) and British Citizenship Test (at a fee) have to be passed before ILR can be applied for. ILR costs are at least £3,500 per applicant and if the applicant can't manage a 48-page form and up to 10 items of supporting evidence, a government agency will assist for a fee of circa £5k per applicant - with no guarantee of success.

For a couple seeking ILR - having come to the UK legitimately - the cost is double because all the fees are per person. Any children born during the initial limited right to remain period (with no access to public funds) also need to have applications made for them.

It might be that these are the people/tenants that the government are making landlords responsible for..... if the government can't collect ILR fees from them, then their landlord (as low hanging fruit) is the next best bet to collect from. Nothing new there.

Eviction takes the same amount of time for whatever the cause of it. The landlord pays the ultimate price in costs and stress - and the previous legitimate tenants, when eventually evicted, go where?

Darren Peters

10:48 AM, 23rd January 2024, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Roberts at 23/01/2024 - 09:44
How did I appear to be racist?

Reluctant Landlord

13:17 PM, 23rd January 2024, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by LordOf TheManor at 23/01/2024 - 10:31
If you take a tenant who has the right to rent for a limited period, say up to 5 years with the correct visa in place, but someone who hasn't reached the time when they can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) - how are you supposed to remove them from your property if they remain your tenants yet can't achieve this status?

Reply - you contact the HO and report it - the matter is classed as reporting an 'overstayer'. If you have done your duty and reported it the the LL will not be prosecuted and does not have to evict but the HO can start proceedings against that person themselves. If the tenant has reapplied etc then they can show you a reference number to show the process is ongoing and you as a LL are given a statutory excuse.

LordOf TheManor

21:51 PM, 23rd January 2024, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Reluctant Landlord at 23/01/2024 - 13:17
Hi LR

Thanks for that info. I'll put it in my mental 'toolbox' - so to speak. Just to be clear, my interest concerns legal immigrants - not the small boat personnel that dominate 60% of British politics.

I guess in reality the legal immigrant tenant gets 'stuck' where they are, i.e. in PRS property - because they don't have the credentials to move on unless it's to an unwary LL or cardboard city or they jack it all in to go back to whence they came.

Housing legal immigrants keen to get on in the UK who want to settle - albeit with limited right to remain - is fine if they can afford to legalise themselves to stay from the start - but landlords willing to house the others cannot possibly know their future capacity to complete the process. This includes the many who have already arrived as 'spouses or partners or children' of those holding the primary visa, i.e. the category being ruled out/denied visas by Gov.UK very soon.

While it's the aspiration of the legal immigrants to stay, it doesn't come free of 'grey hairs' for landlords, does it? The legal immigrants' price to stay is HUGE. Many are in the essential category: NHS technicians, catering managers +++. They're not the biggest earners and their partners are likely to hold no-contract dodgy McDonald jobs when they respond to adverts for accommodation.

Every time I advertise a property to let, same as many other landlords in popular cities, I am inundated with these type of enquiries - along with the norm of UK professionals needing to relocate for job prospects. We all know which of the two groups gets crowded out and why this is.

I fully understand the LEGAL immigrant newcomers' needs to live somewhere and the 'right to rent' market they represent. If I don't take them it is not because I am racist. It's because I am cautious knowing the enormous funds they require to achieve ILR status. It's a forthcoming financial burden on them that no-one, least of all a well-intending landlord, would have any knowledge of.

The full costs of UK ILR is not published anywhere nor is this knowledge readily available to landlords - or to anyone else who isn't an immigrant or immigrant helper accessing it. It's a completely blind subject.

The law referred to in the title of this thread seems to assume the immigrants to be the clandestine type having arrived on small boats. It's more than time to widen the brief to include the lot of legal immigrants.

It's not fair for GOV UK to fine upstanding PRS landlords for accommodating initial right to rent tenants whose circumstances may likely change during the life of their visa. (Same as anyone else).

Landlords have no idea or reference to what it costs to achieve UK ILR status nor can they pre-empt the tenants affordability to pay or complete the tests in the future. Most landlords wouldn't even know to feature that as a risk factor in offering a tenancy.

The blanket fining of landlords housing overstaying 'migrants' therefore needs much more context to be credible. Above all, to be fair to all well-intentioned PRS landlords, the true costs of a legal immigrant extending or achieving their UK residential status should be public knowledge. It isn't, to date.

Without that, landlords who take on tenants with initial legal migrant visa status get inadvertently hitched up to that tenant's future in the UK. It's great if it all goes to plan, eh? If doesn't ...... we know who loses out.

Old Mrs Landlord

23:28 PM, 23rd January 2024, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by LordOf TheManor at 23/01/2024 - 21:51
Thanks for this informative post.

Old Mrs Landlord

23:35 PM, 23rd January 2024, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Darren Peters at 23/01/2024 - 10:48
I don't think Martin was suggesting you appeared to be racist, merely cautioning you to take care not to do anything which might be construed as racism when faced with a making decision on an application from a prospective tenant.

Martin Roberts

0:06 AM, 24th January 2024, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Darren Peters at 23/01/2024 - 10:48
Not suggesting for a second you were, apologies if you thought that.

Just saying that as we do right to rent checks we must not appear to be.

All to easy to be accused when selecting tenant.

Martin Roberts

0:06 AM, 24th January 2024, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 23/01/2024 - 23:35
Yep, thanks.

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