Uncertainty over tenant immigration checks in Scotland
The Immigration Act 2014 introduced a requirement for landlords of private rental accommodation to conduct “Right to Rent” checks on their tenants’ immigration status before offering a tenancy agreement. Under the legislation, there will be a new criminal offence targeted at unscrupulous landlords and agents who repeatedly fail to conduct the “right to rent” checks or fail to take steps to remove illegal immigrants from their property. These landlords may face a fine, up to 5 years imprisonment or liable for a civil penalty of up to £3000. Since 1st December 2014 the scheme has been trialled in a pilot area in the West Midlands. The UK Government has been reviewing the success of the trial and considering whether to proceed with a national roll out. At this time, the plans appear to include a roll out of the “right to rent” checks in England only. We are therefore hopeful that landlords in Scotland will not be required to conduct background checks on the immigration status of tenants. However, we highly recommend all landlords complete thorough referencing of prospective tenants including confirming ID, proof of address, rental history and employment references before offering a tenancy. At West we conduct thorough referencing checks as standard for all our applicants, ensuring only the best tenants are put forward for renting your property. If you wish to discuss referencing or have any other rental queries please call a member of our knowledgeable Lettings Team on 01631 569 466.