Residential tenancies: Immigration Act 2014

11 August 2014

The controversial Immigration Bill received royal assent on the 14 May 2014. Part of the Act makes fundamental changes to the treatment of migrants in the UK, including prohibiting landlords from renting residential accommodation privately to certain migrants.

On the subject of tacking so-called “rogue” landlords housing illegal immigrants in unsanitary conditions, the immigration Minister, Mark Harper, has stated: “We must take firm action to address illegal immigration … alongside existing enforcement activity and other measures in the Bill, we will be requiring all landlords to ensure that prospective tenants are here legally.”The Act aims to tackle illegal immigration in privately rented accommodation: to do so, it mirrors the existing requirements on employers to address illegal working, through compulsory document checks on tenants’ identity and immigration status, which the government assumes can be added onto existing routine checks. In simple terms, landlords and their agents are about to join employers in the ranks of the immigration police – and at their own expense and risk. The scheme is due for general implementation in October 2014. The good news (such as it is) is that it is not designed to apply to agreements in place before then or renewals of such earlier agreements. It is due to be preceded by the publication of a code of practice, no doubt heavily based on what the employment sector already has to abide by. You can read our full commentary on the Act and its implications by clicking download publication below.