The National Landlords’ Association has met with the Home Office and the Department of Communities and Local Government - and has discovered more details on how the expanded system will operate.
The NLA now understands that although no date has been set for national implementation of Right To Rent, the departments have committed to three new measures likely to be included in the Immigration Bill being introduced into parliament in the autumn.
- A new criminal offence: The details of this offence are yet to be finalised, but it is expected to be focussed on repeat offenders and organised crime and will carry a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. Single offences will still carry the previously announced financial penalties and it is expected that only those repeatedly failing to carry out checks and/or end tenancies when instructed to by the Home Office should fall foul.
- A new possession ground. The Home Office has acknowledged that landlords need effective means to end tenancies when a tenant is found not to have the right to rent. This ground is expected to be introduced by means of amending the Housing Act 1988 and will be used in conjunction with s8 of the same act.
- A legal notice from the Home Office bringing tenancies to an end. This is the second means by which a landlord will be able to end a tenancy, where the Home Office determines that the tenants do not have the right-to-rent and deems it necessary to terminate the tenancy. The process is expected to entail the Home Office serving notice to the tenant, notifying them that they do not have the right to remain and that their tenancy is to be ‘excluded’ from various protections. It will not be necessary to go to court to obtain an order for possession, as the tenancy will no longer be an AST (England and Wales) although landlords may choose to use court bailiffs to carry out an eviction where necessary.