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From today, 1st December 2016, under The Immigration Act 2016, there is a new maximum criminal sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment for landlords or agents who fail to carry out ‘Right to Rent’ checks or remove illegal migrants from their property. With concerns that more than half of landlords don’t understand their obligations, Hamilton Fraser with Paul Shamplina of Landlord Action have launched a free audio podcast on Right to Rent.
The Immigration Act 2016 is a new law designed to “further crack down on illegal migration” by making it more difficult for illegal immigrants to work, rent property and receive support in the UK. As part of several new sanctions, it also puts even more pressure on landlords to make sure tenants have the right to rent, and increases the penalties for those who fail to do so.
Since February 2016, landlords have been required to check the immigration status of their tenants under ‘Right to Rent’ legislation. This new act does not change these responsibilities, but it does increase the penalties landlords face. Landlords will continue to be liable for fines of up to £3,000 per tenant where right to rent checks have not been properly carried out. However, the new law also allows for landlords to face criminal fines or up to five years in prison.
Eddie Hooker, Chief Executive Officer of Hamilton Fraser, commented: “Whilst the toughest sanctions will likely be reserved for unscrupulous landlords and agents who deliberately and repeatedly fail to follow the rules, with so many changes for landlords in the last twelve months, we have genuine concern that even the most diligent landlords could trip up and end up facing a fine if they fail to carry out proper checks. As a result, we are investing in improving landlord resources and producing easy to understand educational material.”
However, under the new Immigration Act, it will also be easier for landlords to evict illegal migrant tenants, sometimes without a court order.
In his role as Brand Ambassador for Hamilton Fraser, tenant eviction specialist Paul Shamplina has been appointed to host a special podcast. He comments “To have a defence, Landlords must be able to prove that they complied with the right to rent scheme. Even some of the most experienced landlords and agents are struggling to understand the complexities of this new legislation and we hope that an ‘easy to listen’ podcast might help to raise awareness.”
The podcast can be found on the Hamilton Fraser group sites, which include mydeposits here
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