A total of 91 landlords have been issued with civil penalties since the Government’s controversial right to rent scheme was rolled out a year ago today.
According to the Government landlords have been fined a total of almost £30,000, with 667 enquiries made to the Home Office’s landlords checking services specifically regarding tenants without the right to rent.
Brought in under the Immigration Act 2014 right to rent was introduced in February last year as part of Government reforms to build a ‘fairer and more effective’ immigration system. It requires landlords and agents to check the immigration status of prospective occupiers before they allow them to move in.
The new figures were revealed by Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill MP in response to written Parliamentary questions from Stuart McDonald MP.
Mr Goodwill said: “Home Office records show that in response to landlords making enquiries through the Landlords Checking Service, the Home Office has issued 503 responses during phase 1 of the scheme and 5,446 during phase 2. Of these, 62 responses during phase 1 and 605 responses during phase 2 were in respect of those without the right to rent.”
He revealed that the majority of offences related to lodgers living in England without a right to rent in the UK – and confirmed none of the landlords involved had appealed the penalties.
He added: “Phase 1 of the right to rent scheme ran in the West Midlands from 1 December 2014 to 31 January 2016. Phase 2 of the scheme started across England from 1 February 2016.
“During phase 1 of the scheme, 15 landlords were issued with a civil penalty. Since the start of phase 2 of the scheme, 91 landlords have been issued with a civil penalty. All were first time penalties. 55 related to lodgers in a private household and 51 related to occupiers in rented accommodation.
“There have been no appeals under the scheme. The total amount collected from the scheme up to 13 December 2016 is £29,575.31.”
The RLA is currently conducting further research into landlords’ experiences of right to rent and it impact on the sector. To take the survey click here.
The association also runs right to rent courses, which examine the legislation and its application in detail, using practical examples to show how the rules work. A new series of dates has now been released. For information visit www.rla.org.uk/landlord/courses and search for Immigration and Right to Rent.