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RIGHT TO RENT CHECKS

From 1st December 2014,  landlords in the ‘pilot’ areas, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall will need to check the immigration status of tenants, sub-tenants and lodgers, entering into new tenancies, who are aged over 18 and pay for their accommodation, to assess whether they have the right to rent in the UK. This means that they must have current leave to be in the UK.

The Home Office has published guidance by way of a Code of Practice on how to complete the checks and has provided a list of documents that are deemed suitable to check immigration status. They have also produced an Anti-Discrimination Code which should be read by landlords to ensure they do not discriminate against people in completing the checks.

A failure to conduct the checks and providing accommodation to those without leave to remain could lead to a penalty of £1000 per tenant and £80 per lodger, rising to £3000 and £500 for repeated offences by landlords.

This ‘pilot’ is being run as a result of section 20-37 of the Immigration Act 2014 which aims to make immigration checks compulsory for all landlords in the country. However, this will only come into force if the ‘pilot’ is successful.

The ‘pilot’ is due to run for six months until May 2015, after which it will be evaluated by an Advisory Panel set up by the Home Office and a report will be published. If it is found that the scheme works well and does not exacerbate problems of discrimination and homeless, a recommendation will be made for a national roll out.

Movement Against Xenophobia (MAX) is working with Shelter, the NUS, the Chartered Institute of Housing, Generation Rent, Coventry Law Centre (Birmingham branch) and other partners throughout the West Midlands to evaluate the scheme independently. Our aims are as follows:

  • To monitor the pilot scheme for discrimination and human rights implications for immigrants, black and ethnic minorities and indigenous people as a result of the scheme.
  • To assess the impact on those who become destitute or are subject to exploitation by their landlords.
  • To evaluate the efficacy of the scheme and the impact it has on landlords and tenants.

We have prepared two questionnaires one for Tenants/Lodgers and one for Landlords/Agents to complete. Your responses are vital to allow us to evaluate the impact of this scheme and prepare an independent report on it.

You can complete the questionnaires directly online by clicking on the links. However, should you wish for a paper copy please contact us at the MAX email address below.

We have also created a dedicated email address for people to write in with their experiences and concerns of the scheme. Write to us at MAX@jcwi.org.uk subject line ‘Pilot’.

All emails and questionnaire responses will be completely confidential and anoymous and your responses will not be stored beyond the evaluation