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Immigration checks involving corporate lets - where the agreement between the landlord or letting agent is with a company and not directly with an individual tenant are handled by the corporate body, according to clarification obtained by ARLA from the Home Office.

This means such checks are not part of the Immigration Act 2014 right to rent' landlord scheme. Under this landlords now need to see documentation, typically a passport or a biometric residence permit approved by the Home Office, to ensure that the tenant is legally entitled to reside in the UK.

Failure to check such documentation could result in a £3,000 fine.

The Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton areas have, since the start of this week, been used as a trial area for the scheme, which is expected to roll out across the UK in 2015.

ARLA has conducted a question-and-answer session with the Home Office to clarify issues such as those tenants whose identities are not known ahead of time, or who arrive at a rental property at very short notice. Arguably the most interest clarification concerns so-called corporate lets.

The ARLA article is here and the wording of the clarification on corporate lets is as follows:

Q: What happens with company lets where we don't know who the occupiers are We let to the company who allow the current CEO etc to occupy on terms that are generally longer than three months

A: In these circumstances, the agreement is with a corporate body and not directly with a tenant' (albeit the body can be a tenant). The body will have control over who may stay at the property, i.e. a form of licence and they will be the liable party. Employers already conduct right to work checks and are subject to civil penalties if it is found that they are employing illegal workers.


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