Possible Prison Sentences for Landlords Who Let to Illegal Immigrants

10th August 2015

Possible Prison Sentences for Landlords Who Let to Illegal Immigrants

Whilst the migrant crisis in Calais continues, the British government is considering measures to prevent and resolve illegal immigration. One such proposed measure is the introduction of penalties to landlords who fail to ensure that their tenant has a “Right to Rent”.

Landlord, tenant house keys

The “Right to Rent” will extend to British, EEA or Swiss nationals automatically, but most non-EU citizens will need a visa or to have been granted indefinite leave to remain. Landlords and letting agents will have to check that the tenant has the “Right to Rent” and monitor the position throughout the tenancy. Landlords will have to evict tenants who lose the right to live in the UK.

The proposals suggest that the Home Office would issue the landlord with notice when an application for asylum fails to confirm that the tenant no longer has the “Right to Rent”. Landlords may then be able to bring tenancies to an end without a court order. This is at odds with the present law which states that a residential tenant cannot be evicted without an order from the court or the landlord could face criminal prosecution under the Protection From Eviction Act 1977.

Although no date for implementation of the measures has been set, the National Landlords Association has met with government departments to find out more about the proposed changes, and has confirmed via their website that it is expected that:
* There will be a new ground for seeking possession of property through the courts.
* There will be a second route for landlords to evict the tenant, by way of a legal notice from the Home Office which determines that the tenants do not have the “Right to Rent” and terminates the tenancy.
* Landlords could face fines of up to £3,000 for non-compliance and repeat offenders could face a prison sentence of up to 5 years.

We will provide further information about the new measures and the date that they come into force in due course.

How can our solicitors in Ipswich help you?

If you experience a landlord or tenant dispute of any kind, our property lawyer Holly Sadler will be able to help and can be contacted on 01473 298193 or email holly.sadler@gotelee.co.uk

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