Landlord & Tenant - The Immigration Act 2014

Author: Caroline Walton

The Immigration Act 2014 (IA 2014) makes a number of changes to the UK immigration rules in that it prohibits private landlords of residential properties from allowing certain people to occupy those properties. Landlords will now have to check the immigration status of prospective tenants to ascertain whether they have the right to occupy the premises before granting them a tenancy. They must also make sure that someone’s right to occupy the premises does not lapse. The right to rent checks will only apply to new tenancy agreements. Existing tenancy agreements are unaffected and landlords will not be required to carry out retrospective checks.

Failure to comply could lead to a civil penalty of up to £3,000.

A person is prohibited from occupying property under a residential tenancy agreement if they:

• Are not a "relevant national", which is:

  • a British citizen;
  • a national of an EEA State; or
  • a national of Switzerland.

• Do not have a right to rent in relation to the property.

A person does not have a right to rent if they require leave to enter or remain in the UK and do not have it, or they have leave but it is subject to conditions that prevent them from occupying the premises.

The Government will provide a comprehensive set of services to help landlords to conduct checks.

The Government is piloting the scheme in the West Midlands from 1 December 2014. The requirements may become mandatory for all residential landlords in 2015.

Further information can be found on the Home Office website.