Rules that require landlords to check on their tenant’s immigration status before renting them a home are to be rolled out across England following a pilot in the West Midlands.
The ‘Right to Rent’ checks will be introduced in the Immigration Bill and are part of government measures aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration.
Landlords who repeatedly fail to conduct these checks or fail to take steps to remove illegal immigrants from their property will be targeted under a new criminal law and could face a fine, up to five years’ imprisonment and further sanctions under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Additional measures also include a tougher fit and proper person test for landlords of properties that have to be licensed to ensure they meet proper welfare and safety standards, and more powers for landlords to recover abandoned properties more quickly without the need to go to court.
The government will also permit the sharing of Tenancy Deposit Protection data to help councils prevent landlords who knowingly rent out unsafe or overcrowded accommodation.
Greg Clark, Communities Secretary, said: “We are determined to crack down on rogue landlords who make money out of illegal immigration — exploiting vulnerable people and undermining our immigration system.
“In future, landlords will be required to ensure that the people they rent their properties to are legally entitled to be in the country.
“We will also require them to meet their basic responsibilities as landlords, cracking down on those who rent out dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties.”