by David Asker
14:40 PM, 8th February 2017, About 6 years ago 6
Since 1st December 2016, landlords who knowingly let to a tenant who has no right to rent in the UK are committing a criminal offence.
Under the Immigration Act 2016, landlords and agents not carrying out these checks now face prosecution and a fine, imprisonment for up to five years, or both.
Making the checks
It is not just a one-off process at the beginning of the tenancy, as the landlord (or their agent) must run another check on their status just before the expiry of their right to stay or 12 months after the last check, depending on which is longest.
Termination of agreement where all occupiers disqualified
Under Part 2, Section 40, 33D of the Immigration Act 2016, it states that the landlord can terminate the tenancy agreement by giving the tenant (or all tenants if it is a joint tenancy) notice to quit in writing. They must set a date for the end of the agreement, which must not be less than 28 days from the date of notice.
This is on the condition that the Secretary of State has given one or more notices in writing to the landlord which, taken together, identify the occupier/s of the premises, and state that they are disqualified as a result of their immigration status from occupying premises under a residential tenancy agreement.
Notice can be given by delivering or posting it to the tenants, leaving it at the premises or any other prescribed manner.
33D(6) states that “The notice is to be treated as a notice to quit in a case where a notice to quit would otherwise be required to bring the residential tenancy agreement to an end.”
Order of the High Court
33D(7) states that “The notice is enforceable as if it were an order of the High Court.”
This is very interesting, as this means that the landlord can simply instruct a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) who will go through the process to obtain a writ of possession.
No prior approval is required from the court (as it would be for a “normal” eviction from residential premises issued in a County Court), making the HCEO route the quickest and simplest option.