Property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP is the latest industry operator to label the government’s Right To Rent immigration checks as unworkable, ludicrous and disproportionate.
Julian Goddard, head of residential at Daniel Watney, says letting agents and landlords lack the necessary know-how and training to enforce the checks, which the firm labels as ‘disproportionate’.
The pilot project has been taking place in parts of the West Midlands for the past six months, as set out in the Immigration Act 2014. This obliges agents and landlords in the West Midlands to carry out document checks and keep records to identify if a potential tenant has the right to reside in the UK.
Where an agent has accepted responsibility for compliance with the new rules, the agent will be the liable party in place of the landlord.In most cases this involves checking the tenant's passport or biometric residents permit; appropriate records of this need to be kept for up to 12 months after the tenancy ends.
Agents or landlords can request a check using an online form, which provides answers within two working days.
The new rules apply to individuals who take in lodgers and also apply to tenants who sub-let properties. Failure to abide by the regulations will result in fines up to £3,000.
Daniel Watney also says professional landlords are not on a level playing field with those offering short-term lets, such as Airbnb, who appear not to be subject to the same requirements.
“Current plans ... are unworkable. Landlords are not trained immigration enforcement officers and are unlikely to know the difference between a real and fake visa. There also seems to be no real impetus to ensure those offering short-term lets, like Airbnb, are checking the immigration status of their tenants. So to fine landlords for failing to do the job of the border agency, while ignoring others, borders on ludicrous” says Julian Goddard.