Landlords who let properties to immigrants without UK residency rights will soon incur heftier financial sanctions.
Those landlords and agents intentionally leasing to undocumented immigrants could face fines of up to £5,000 for each tenant and £10,000 for every occupant during the initial infringement, a significant increase from the previous £80 and £1,000 charges.
Subsequent violations could result in charges of £10,000 for each tenant, up from £500, and a peak of £20,000 for every occupant, a rise from £3,000.
The legislation imposing these penalties is expected to be introduced early in 2024.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick states: “To deter unnecessary and hazardous small boat journeys, it’s essential to restrict illegal migrants’ activities in the UK. Dishonest landlords and employers who facilitate illegal work and housing perpetuate the operations of malicious human traffickers. There’s no justification for neglecting the required vetting, and violators will be met with substantially harsher fines.”
Furthermore, business leaders intentionally employing migrants without UK work rights may incur fines of up to £45,000 for each worker during an initial violation and up to £60,000 for recurring breaches. This is an increase from the former £15,000 and £20,000 penalties.
These heightened fines come following recommendations from the government’s newly-established immigration taskforce earlier this year.
The taskforce evaluated the need for bolstering checks on housing and employment concerning immigration.
Media reports hint that authorities are keen to keep a closer eye on the gig economy, predominantly driven by flexible employment.
The prevailing Right to Rent law mandates that landlords or representatives in England ensure all their tenants possess the lawful right to reside in the UK.
The Home Office initiated these Right to Rent verifications to impede illegal residency and employment in England. Tenancies in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are exempt from these checks.
When undertaking a Right to Rent verification, landlords or representatives need to inspect every potential tenant over 18, even if they aren’t listed on the tenancy, through:
- Examining an original ID (from a specified list of valid identification papers) while the potential tenant is present;
- or by utilising a sanctioned identity service provider (IDSP) for ID verification;
- or by reviewing a tenant’s Right to Rent status online using the Home Office’s ‘share code’ system.
In some instances, this verification can be done anytime before the tenancy commences. However, in certain cases, it should be performed within the 28 days leading up to the tenancy initiation.
Additionally, landlords and agents must legally conduct subsequent verifications when IDs have a set expiration, like with student visas for instance.
Read more Property Investing News HERE