From 1st December, landlords in the West Midlands are required to undertake Right to Rent checks on their tenants to ensure that they have the right to reside in the UK. These new regulations require landlords and agents to check tenants' nationalities and ID documents.

Background:

As part of the Immigration Act, landlords now need to check that an individual has the right to live in the UK before a property can be let to them. These changes fall under the new Immigration Bill, requiring landlords and agents to check the visa status of their tenants. James Brokenshire, Immigration Minister, said that the new rules would also "act as a new line of attack against unscrupulous landlords who exploit people by renting out overcrowded and unsafe accommodation".

Pilot:

From 1st December, landlords in the West Midlands (Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton) are required to undertake Right to Rent checks on their tenants to ensure that they have the right to reside in the UK. Once this pilot phase has been completed, the legislation is expected to be rolled out nationally.

Penalties:

Landlords will face the possibility of fines of up to £3,000 if they are found to be letting property to people who are in the UK illegally. There's a sliding scale so heavier fines will be implemented for landlords who persistently rent to illegal immigrants.

Best practice:

This is part of the overall process of risk management. British and European nationals can satisfy these checks by presenting a valid passport, driving licence or full birth certificate. Non-EU nationals will need to provide passports and visas or biometric residence permits (BRPs). The landlord has an obligation to obtain and verify these documents, retaining a copy and recording the date that the check was made.

The solution:

Contego already works within the property and tenant referencing sector. Contego is a sophisticated, but cost-effective identity verification system - an online platform that helps simplify, speed up and improve the quality of risk, compliance and anti-fraud decisions.

  • We aggregate best of breed data sets in one platform
  • Our solution is automated providing a validated risk score in seconds
  • We verify various identity documents: passports; driving licences; national ID cards; visas and BRPs
  • Contego holds law enforcement data in its platform allowing us to check against police compromised document databases
  • With Bankmatch we can verify that a bank account exists and is live

James Brokenshire, UK Immigration minister, announced further measures last week, as part of the Home Office strategy to make life in the UK more hostile to foreigners without the right to live in the UK. Banks and building societies, who open current accounts for known illegal immigrants, will now face fines, or even criminal sanctions. He stated that for too long it had been too easy for people to live in Britain despite having no right to be here.

If you'd like more information on how Contego can help with tenant referencing checks and verification of identity documents please contact us.

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