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City landlords will be required to carry out 'right to rent' checks

Landlords are being urged to find out more about new legislation which could see them face fines if they rent homes to illegal immigrants without first checking their 'right to rent'.

The new law is being introduced in Wolverhampton and other parts of the West Midlands on 1 December, 2014, before being rolled out nationwide.

It will mean private landlords have to check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country if they want to avoid potentially being fined up to £3,000 by the Government.

Councillor Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Prosperity, said: "It is important that landlords in Wolverhampton familiarise themselves with the requirements of this new legislation, and the steps they must take to ensure their tenants have the right to rent their properties.

"Responsible landlords will already make the necessary checks as a matter of course, but those that don't could face fines of up to £3,000 if they fail to comply with the new law."

Landlords will need to see evidence of a person's identity and citizenship, for example a passport or biometric residence permit. Most legal renters will have the correct documentation ready to hand, usually landlords will be able carry out these simple checks without the need to contact the Home Office.

Copies of the documentation will need to be taken as evidence that the checks have been carried out and retained for 1 year after the tenancy ends. Children under 18 will not need to be checked.

Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said: "The right to rent checks will be quick and simple, but will make it more difficult for immigration offenders to stay in the country when they have no right to be here. They will also act as a new line of attack against unscrupulous landlords who exploit people by renting out substandard, overcrowded and unsafe accommodation.

"Landlords in the West Midlands will have all the advice and support they need in advance of the checks going live on 1 December."

For more information and key steps that landlords should take to prepare themselves for the introduction of the new law are available at GOV UK and a helpline is also available on 0300 069 9799.

  • released: Monday 13 October, 2014