The controversial Immigration Bill received Royal Assent on 14 May and is now set to become law as the Immigration Act 2014. It requires all private landlords (including those just taking in lodgers) to check the immigration status of prospective tenants, such as their right to work in the UK. Those who fail to do so could face fines of up to £3,000.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper has targeted October 2014 as the roll-out date. It is therefore very important for landlords to learn what specific steps they will have to take to stay within the bounds of the new law. There is an official government advice document for landlords and agents, which can be found here.
The granting of the Royal Assent to the Act has rather slipped under the radar. Also, there has been very little clear, public information on the Act, partly because it is such a large and wide-ranging piece of legislation. The lack of easily accessible information is very worrying given the huge implications. A recent Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) survey found that 55.2% of landlords were not confident about making the checks and 21.8% did not know if they would even be able to conduct them. Hopefully, a lot of work will go into rectifying this between now and October.