The controversial Right To Rent immigration checks on tenants conducted by letting agents and landlords in the West Midlands since early December, has so far resulted in just one fine according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.
The penalty was “issued to a landlord, who is appealing the near-£2,000 sum, according to sources” says the newspaper.
The Telegraph - along with much of the property industry - anticipates that the Right To Rent guidelines will be rolled out to the rest of the country later this year, although the government is committed to waiting until the pilot project has been assessed.
Last week we reported that the property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP branded the checks as unworkable, ludicrous and disproportionate, and that the immigration charity the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants says it is working with a range of other bodies - some within the property industry - to assess the pilot project when it formally ends this week.
The pilot has been run in Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall. Since December, landlords and agents in these areas have been required to check the immigration status of all new adult tenants, sub-tenants and lodgers entering into new tenancies to assess whether they have right to rent in the UK.
Section 20 to 37 of the Immigration Act 2014 contains provisions to make it compulsory for landlords to check the immigration status of all new adult tenants.
A failure to conduct the checks and to provide accommodation to those without leave to remain could lead to a penalty of £1,000 per tenant and £80 per lodger, rising to £3,000 and £500 for repeated offences by landlords or their agents.