Warning over agents’ Right To Rent discrimination claims
A lawyer has raised the spectre of letting agents and landlords possibly facing accusation of discrimination when the government’s Right To Rent immigration checks are rolled out.
“Given the large number of different documents which can prove a person’s permission to be in the UK, there are concerns over whether landlords or letting agents will have the expertise to carry out the checks properly” warns Mark Lilley-Tams, an associate solicitor at Paragon Law.
“There are also concerns that landlords or letting agents will become subject to discrimination claims if they wrongly refuse to rent a property to tenants on immigration grounds” he says.
The Immigration Act 2014 obliges agents and landlords in the West Midlands to carry out document checks and keep records to identify if a potential tenant has the right to reside in the UK. Where an agent has accepted responsibility for compliance with the new rules, the agent will be the ‘liable party’ in place of the landlord.
The coalition government, in power before the May 7 election, introduced the measures into one pilot region of Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton last December, promising a roll out across the UK in 2015.
It is currently understood that an evaluation process is underway by the government prior to a firm announcement about roll-out.
The rules for the pilot in the West Midlands obliged agents to check the status of would-be tenants for all new tenancy agreements. In most cases this was believed to have involved checking the tenant’s passport or biometric residents permit; appropriate records need to be kept for up to 12 months after the tenancy ends. Agents or landlords were able to request a check using an online form, which provided answers within two working days.
The new rules applied to individuals taking in lodgers and also applied to tenants who sub-let properties. Failure to abide by the regulations risked a £3,000 fine.
If you are concerned about the issues highlighted in this article why not consider letting your property on Central Housing Group’s ‘Guaranteed Rent’ Scheme. Our landlords are paid an agreed monthly Guaranteed Rent for the duration of the term of their contract regardless of their tenants’ immigration status or employment circumstances and regardless of whether their property is occupied or not.
Landlords – if you are worried about these ‘Right to Rent’ immigration checks why not consider our ‘Guaranteed Rent’ Scheme because, when you let your property on our scheme, you will not be required to carry out immigration checks on your tenants, or liable to legal prosecution for failing to carry out adequate immigration checks on your tenants.
Consequently our landlords have complete peace of mind knowing they will not be impacted at all by any of the responsibilities or risks highlighted in this article.
If you are interested in finding our more about our ‘Guaranteed Rent’ Scheme, currently operating in north, east & west London, please call us today on 020 8447 1222.