New parts of the Immigration Act 2016, which aim to consolidate the right to rent regulations have come into effect on the 1st December.
The new measures follow the introduction of civil penalties created under immigration act 2014 and aim to: make it easier for private landlords to evict illegal migrant tenants. It also creates new criminal offences for rogue landlords and agent who knowingly, or with ‘reasonable cause to believe’ let to illegal migrants. The offence will apply to landlords who entered into tenancy agreements before the 1st December 2016 as well as after.
As of this month, managing agents or landlords themselves (if they manage tenancies), will be committing a criminal offence if they have ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the apartment or house they are letting is being rented by a tenant disqualified under Right to Rent regulations.
From the 1st December, if a landlord or managing agent serves a section 8 notice which does not specifically refer to the immigration act 2016, it is regarded as invalid and tenants will have a technical defence to possession proceedings.
The vast majority of private landlords who are found to be renting to illegal migrants and who have not carried out right to rent checks, where the scheme has been implemented in their area, will be dealt with under the civil penalty regime. The penalties for both offences on indictment are imprisonment for up to five years and/or an unlimited fine.
From 1st December landlords, will be able to obtain a notice from the home office to end tenancies for occupants with no right to rent. In some cases, eviction will be possible without a court order.
If the occupier has no right to rent, the secretary of state may issue a notice to the landlord requiring them to leave the property. When/if this notice is received, the landlord will be required to terminate the tenancy within a ‘reasonable’ period of time by giving notice to the tenants. The tenants must however be given at least 28 days before the tenancy is brought to the end.