New Right to Rent offences in force from 01 December 2016
What does this mean for landlords and agents?
The government has implemented new measures to deal with illegal immigration by restricting access to the private rented sector. New offences have been created that expand on and are in addition to the existing 2014 Right to Rent provisions including the fines. These include:
• A landlord or agent could be charged with a criminal offence if they let residential property to an illegal immigrant and face up to five years imprisonment.
• A landlord or agent can face an unlimited fine if they let property to an illegal immigrant and may face prosecution under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
• A landlord must take reasonable steps within a reasonable period of time to terminate a tenancy agreement and evict the occupiers if their tenants lose the right to remain in the UK. The Home Office has issued guidance on how to comply with this new requirement. Please note that this guidance is in draft form only.
• A landlord will be able to obtain a notice from the Home Office which enables them to evict illegal immigrant tenants without having to obtain an order for possession from the court.
• If all of the occupiers in a property lose their right to rent then the landlord can serve a notice in a prescribed form on all the occupiers giving 28 days to end the tenancy. Upon expiry, the notice is enforceable as if it were an order of the High Court and is enforceable by the High Court Enforcement Officer.
Don’t forget your checks under the Immigration Act 2014
A new mandatory ground for possession has been inserted into the Housing Act 1988 and a new section 8 notice has been issued which incorporates the new mandatory ground. This is for use when only some of the occupiers in a property lose their right to rent. A similar provision has been inserted into the Rent Act 1977.
For tenancies that are not assured, assured shorthold or protected, there is a new implied term inserted into the tenancy, regardless of when the tenancy was entered into, that enables the landlord to terminate the tenancy if the occupier does not have a right to rent.