A total of 31 people have been deported as a result of the Government’s right to rent scheme – with 75 landlords fined.
According to new Government figures 7,806 calls were made to the Home Office’s helpline for landlords between July 1st 2015 and June 30th last year.
And although the Home Office says it does not have figures for the number of illegal migrants in the PRS, it confirmed that 654 people were involved in investigations or named on documents relating to right to rent penalties.
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 figures were revealed in response to series of Parliamentary Questions submitted by Baroness Lister of Burtersett after representations from the RLA.
Baroness Lister asked questions about the number of tenants and landlords investigated under right to rent, the number of illegal immigrants discovered and deported and the penalties incurred.
In her official response Baroness Williams said: “From 1 November 2015 to 31 October 2016, 75 initial civil penalties were issued to individual landlords of tenants who do not have the right to rent in the UK.
“As with right to work checks, the right to rent scheme is predicated on checks being carried out by third parties (in this case landlords and lettings agents).
“This means that the majority of illegal migrant prospective tenants will be denied access to the private rented sector as a result of these checks with no intervention by enforcement officers and no reference to the Home Office.
“The sanctions set out in the Immigration Acts 2014 and 2016 in relation to the right to rent scheme are there to address circumstances where the scheme is not adhered to by landlords and agents.”
She added: “The Home Office does not hold information about the overall numbers of illegal migrants found in private rented accommodation.
However our records show that between the start of the scheme and 30 September 2016, 654 individuals were either named on a Civil Penalty Referral Notice served on a landlord, or encountered on an enforcement visit during which such a Notice was served, or encountered as a result of information provided through the Landlords Checking Service, or encountered as a result of other intelligence provided about property let to illegal migrants.
“Of these individuals, 31 were removed from the UK over the same period. Other cases may be being progressed to removal, or have been made subject to reporting restrictions, or have sought to regularise their stay, or have left the UK voluntarily.
“The Right to Rent scheme is designed to restrict access to the private rented sector for illegal migrants in order to encourage voluntary departure from the UK and discourage illegal migration.
“The Home Office will always investigate information it receives about illegal migrants and take appropriate enforcement action according to the information available and the circumstances of the case.”
The response came after research from the RLA showed that landlords are struggling to get to grips with the rules – with 63% of the 810 landlords surveyed afraid of making a mistake when checking documents.
In the same survey 43% said they were less likely to rent to those without a British passport for fear of getting it wrong.
Breaching right to rent rules became a criminal offence on December 1st last year, with those who do not carry out the check properly or fail to move illegal migrants from their property facing up to five years in jail and unlimited fines.