right-to-rent accommodation, student landlords not exempt!
04 Nov 2015
Right-to-rent accommodation rules. New legislation will require landlords and letting agents to act as border police -including student landlords not providing university halls of residence.
The new right-to-rent accommodation rules will require landlords and letting agents to insist their tenants evince their entitlement to reside in the UK. Student Halls of residence are exempt. However, after leaving halls of residence students are no longer exempt from the right-to-rent immigration rules and must provide specific home office evidence of identity and entitlement to reside, when asked by landlords and letting agents.
Right-to-rent-immigration rules are not entirely new. Previously affected were the many so called ‘bogus’ English language colleges closed down by the introduction of rules deterring even legitimate students from applying to study English in the UK. This was during the coalition government pre-dating current rules. The then new rules were intended to curtail ‘bogus’ student applications from those students intent on using colleges as a passport to permanent residency, allegedly before ultimately abandoning studies and vanishing shortly after arriving in the UK. This policy decimated many legitimate language schools and this in turn adversely affected genuine student applications to language schools. The fall in numbers at such language colleges is said to have reduced the numbers progressing from language school to university and in turn impacted on those requiring university and private rented accommodation.
Fines of £3000 per offence will be imposed by the Home Office on those ignoring right-to-rent accommodation rules. Thus a five bedroom house with 5 illegal tenants could result in fines of £15,000 and or prison sentences for those landlords and their letting agents providing accommodation, having failed to comply with the new rules.
Right-to-rent accommodation rules are scheduled to become law from 1 February 2016 in the UK. Calais queues of immigrants and Kent queues of vehicles have evoked public outcry. Repeated failed impossible election promises have led to pressure from nationalists such as UKIP. These are just some of the factors leading to the new rules. Infrastructure issues include schools unable to cope with the burden of multilingual costs and associated costly cultural administration complexities. Accommodating under 18 year old’s deemed to be vulnerable children has challenged the generosity of the UKs local authority budgets.
Once inside the UK and ensconced into communities, illegal immigrants may never surface to face authorities. Regardless of origin we all have one essential thing in common. Everyone needs a place to live, somewhere to call home. Landlords are thus at the forefront by providing right-to-rent accommodation and thus in a position to influence or deter illegal domicility. Where authorities have previously failed; landlords are now expected to adopt the new unpaid role of protecting UK borders. The policy is logical, stop the problem at the root of where it effectively starts – not on the uncontrollable borders but in the controllable homes, at the doors of all rented houses provided by landlords. If it involved less work it would be pure genius!
Will right-to-rent accommodation rules result in prejudism? Third generation legitimate ‘Brits’ who appear or sound ‘foreign’ may now find it unfairly challenging to secure accommodation if landlords could be punished for mistakenly granting a tenancy to ‘illegals’.
New powers will also entitle, and indeed require, landlords to evict apparently illegal immigrants, without delay! Long term illegal immigrants that might otherwise have remained underground, might now find it more difficult to hide. Whatever your view, right-to-rent accommodation rules cannot be ignored!