United Kingdom

Right to rent fines to see massive increase

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The government plans to increase fines for landlords and letting agents who knowingly rent to unauthorised immigrants.

Under a new law expected early next year, agents and landlords could pay up to £10,000 for a first offence – up from £1,000 currently. Repeat offenders could pay up to £20,000 per renter. As part of a broader crackdown on illegal immigration, employers will also face bigger fines for hiring people without the right to work in the UK.

Landlords and agents in England must carry out right to rent checks on all private tenants aged 18 and over to ensure that they are in the UK legally – not just those who they suspect are not British citizens. The tenant must either submit an original document such as a British passport, or use a share code when they are not a British or Irish citizen. If they have neither, landlords can also request a right to rent check from the Home Office.

If the tenant has a time-limited right to stay in the UK, their status must be rechecked and any failures reported to the Home Office. Failing to report a failed follow-up check can result in a fine or even a prison sentence.

An unpopular policy

The reaction from the property industry has been negative. Ben Beadle, head of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), called the move “little more than a gimmick” and accused the government of cracking down on landlords rather than illegal immigration. He also warned that the move could make it more difficult for poorer British citizens to find homes to rent as they are less likely to have a passport or other acceptable identification.

In fact, the scheme has been unpopular with industry groups since it was first piloted in 2016. Propertymark has repeatedly raised concerns with the government over the rules, while the Residential Landlords Association (one of the organisations that merged to form the NRLA) helped bring a high court case against the policy in 2019.

Other landlord headlines

Hundreds of landlords lose homes as mortgage arrears double in a year – The Telegraph

Landlords demand incentives to make EPC improvements – Landlord Today

Landlords tell court about terrifying flamethrower attack by tenant – LandlordZONE

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