The Association of Residential Letting Agents is to take part in an urgent meeting called by the Home Office on the documentation used in Right To Rent, the official term for the immigration checks which may be rolled out across the UK later this year.
A statement by ARLA says the meeting has been called at short notice and will “gather views on possible changes to the list of acceptable ID documents in the Code of Practice for the Right to Rent scheme.”
The association says that at the last meeting of the Landlords Consultative Panel on July 7, immigration minister James Brokenshire noted the need to reflect on the list of acceptable documents in the Right to Rent Code of Practice.
That meeting heard that during the pilot project in the West Midlands, some 25 per cent of calls to the Home Office’s Landlord Checking Service were about the list of acceptable documents. That meeting also discussed that some some British citizens with limited documentation - for example, those without a passport - may find it harder to access rented accommodation.
The new meeting is likely to be part of the Home Office evaluation of the pilot, which has been operating 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.