Landlords, be vigilant. Penalties for renting to migrants without proper UK residency rights are about to increase significantly under new Government plans.
Future infringements will see landlords and agents who consciously lease to undocumented migrants penalised with fines reaching up to £5,000 for each lodger and £10,000 for every occupier on the first offence. This is a dramatic increase from the previous penalties of £80 and £1,000 respectively.
Should they re-offend, fines will escalate to £10,000 for each lodger, up from a previous £500, and peak at £20,000 per occupier, compared to the earlier £3,000 limit. The expected timeline for the legislation supporting these fines is early 2024.
Robert Jenrick, the Immigration Minister, emphasised the need for stricter measures when announcing them.
He said: “Our goal is to deter unlawful small boat crossings and undermine the operations of human traffickers. Landlords and employers who turn a blind eye to illegal practices are inadvertently supporting these smugglers. Ignorance is no longer acceptable. Those not complying will be met with more severe penalties.”
Company heads knowingly employing migrants without the right to work in the UK can also expect tougher fines of up to £45,000 for a first offence and £60,000 for recurrent breaches through changes to “Right to Work” checks. This marks an increase from the previous fines of £15,000 and £20,000, respectively. These significant amendments come upon the advice of the government’s newly established immigration taskforce.
This body was set up to evaluate and strengthen immigration checks in housing and employment, with a particular eye on the gig economy, known for its high reliance on casual labour.
For landlords and agents, performing a Right to Rent check involves:
Depending on the scenario, these checks might be conducted ahead of the tenancy’s commencement or within a 28-day window leading up to it.
Also, note that periodic follow-up checks are necessary, especially in cases with time-limited identifications, like student visas.
If you rent properties out to tenants or plan to in the future, then it is important that you understand these rules and how they may affect you. For legal advice, please speak to us.