Landlords face £3,000 fine if renting to illegal migrants article banner image

The government is making it harder for illegal migrants to rent accommodation in the UK, as part of its efforts to clamp down on people staying in the UK without.

Estate agent sign To Let, in England, UK

The Immigration Act introduced a requirement for private landlords to conduct immigration checks on tenants before renting to them. If found not to have conducted the required checks before renting to illegal migrants, landlords could face a civil penalty of up to £3,000.

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. These requirements apply to all adults (aged 18 and over) living at the property.
Furthermore, landlords will be required to obtain and copy documents demonstrating an individual’s right to rent in the UK, such as a passport or biometric residence permits before letting their residence.

Among all the resources that will be made available to landlords, the government will provide a comprehensive set of services to help landlords conduct checks, including online guidance and a telephone helpline which will provide general information, and a case-checking service for more complex cases like applications pending with the Home Office or vulnerable adults.

The right to rent checks will come into effect in late autumn and will become mandatory for all landlords in early 2015. Landlords who use the services of estate agents to make checks will have to ensure that they too have seen the documents of the prospective tenant and have also obtained copies in order not to fall foul of this

An online guidance will be published soon by the government to assist landlords and tenants in identifying whether they are affected and how to conduct checks in
compliance with the rules.

Ruby Anugwom is an associate in the immigration team at Stephens Scown and can be contacted on 01392 210700 or by email on