Landlords across the West Midlands will be forced to check if new tenants are illegal immigrants or risk being fined £3,000 from 1st December.
As reported by Mortgage Solutions, the Right to Rent scheme is being piloted in the Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton areas but is expected to be rolled out across the UK next year.
The responsibility for checking a prospective tenant’s identity and citizenship now falls to the landlord under the rules of the new initiative.
A website has been set up by the government where tenants can request further checks in instances where a passport cannot be produced.
Immigration and security minister James Brokenshire said: “We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who abuse the system or flout the law.
“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.”
The measures will also act as a new line of attack against unscrupulous landlords who exploit people by renting out overcrowded and unsafe accommodation.
Mary Latham, West Midland representative for the National Landlords Association, said: “It’s important that landlords are aware of what will be expected of them in order to avoid falling foul of the law and getting hit with a costly fine.
“It is already best practice to conduct thorough checks on prospective tenants, but the new laws will require landlords to check original ID documents of their tenants and to retain copies as proof that a check has been carried out.”
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