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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Right to Rent: Home Office hands out over 400 fines since 2016

Figures from the Home Office show that as of the end of March, a total of 405 fines for non-compliance with the Right to Rent scheme have been issued.

The total value of these fines is £265,000.

The Right to Rent scheme was introduced in February 2016 and requires landlords or their letting agents to check the immigration status of prospective tenants to make sure they have the legal right to rent in the UK. 

Authorities are permitted to issue fines of up to £3,000 per tenant. However, according to these figures, the average fine across all cases is just under £654.

Press Association analysis of the Home Office data shows that since the scheme's inception, the period with the most fines issued was April to June 2017 (76), followed by July to September last year (75).

The lowest number of fines recorded (14) was between January and March 2016 when the scheme was introduced.

A total of 39 fines were handed out in the most recent period, January to March 2018.

"It is important to remember that landlords are neither immigration experts nor border agents," Chris Norris, the National Landlord Association's director of policy and practice, told the Press Association.

“The Right to Rent scheme has placed an additional cost on an already pressurised sector, while the excessive checks and lack of monitoring may have had harmful consequences for would-be and vulnerable tenants.”

He said, however, that the figures show that landlords are increasingly aware of their responsibilities and carrying out the required checks in line with the law.

The Right to Rent scheme has been in the headlines on several occasions in recent weeks. The NLA has called for new Home Secretary Sajid Javid to carry out a review of the system in light of government figures which show it costs an additional £4.7 million.

It was also criticised for its role in the 'Windrush scandal' when people who have lived and worked in Britain legally for decades were being challenged over their immigration status.

The Home Office subsequently issued updated guidance making clear that tenants who have lived in the UK since before 1973 have the right to rent property. However, this guidance has been criticised by the Residential Landlords Association for 'lacking clarity'.

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    This article doesn't make clear just who, exactly, has been fined. If [as I assume] it's the Landlords/Agents (for not undertaking checks, irrespective of the Tenant's status), then it just goes to show how despicable this Legislation is in, effectively, merely 'criminalising' those (as 'soft' targets) unilaterally imposed upon to undertake a responsibility that more fittingly should be undertaken by Immigration Officers. I wonder how many Immigration Officers get fined each year for missing an 'illegal' through their own inadequate checks ? Moreover, for a scheme that costs £4.7m to administer, it is clearly an absurdity that it managed to raise a paltry £265k. If these iniquitous fines are indeed applied to Landlords/Agents ... I also wonder just what percentage of those, heinous, 'missed' checks resulted in a person without a 'Right to Rent' being indicted ? In the [unlikely] event that the figure refers to Tenant Applicants reported to the authorities consequential of those checks, then it seems to be a significantly small number, when considered as a percentage of 'illegals' [undocumented migrants] in the country. Figures are impossible to come by, but the Home Office readily admits to about 150,000 to 250,000 per year not complying with their Visa requirements and continue to live in Britain beyond the time formally permitted ... and anywhere from 650,000 to one million undocumented migrants living in the UK under the radar. What utter madness this makes these 405 fines !

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    I totally agree. I had to read the article twice as it seemed unlikely that the tenants were being fined but that's how I read it the first time round.

    This is totally in line with every policy the government has in place - DWP, Home Office, employers etc. It's nothing to do with giving tax payers value for money. It's all about the rhetoric. It's unlikely that these sanctions will ever make a significant difference to the number of illegal immigrants living here. It's just another way for one of the governments "preferred suppliers" to make more money when administering this flawed policy. Going after "soft targets" gives them the excuse to avoid doing what they're paid to do - that is, to put robust policies in place to monitor visitors to our country and to know where they are if they overstay their welcome. And this is nothing to do with Brexit. In fact, I expect the situation will worsen if this goes ahead as there'll be less funding available and fewer staff dealing with this. They'll all be manning the ports!! I despair!!

     
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    Be careful. £265K is not the point. What is happening now is that this procedure is being prepared as a way to get money out of landlords for many reasons. With a bad government this law could become a very serious problem indeed.

    Do you remember the air transport passenger levy being introduced? "Just a couple of pounds to help out with airport procedure" they said. Now it is a full blown and expensive tax which has little relevance to airports.

     
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    Sue - sadly, we must both despair (together with, no doubt, at minimum, 405 others we now know of !).

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    Better to give landlords a way to fine the government for not doing their job properly?

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