It now appears that the Immigration Bill, which last month received Royal Assent and became an Act of Parliament, will take effect from October this year.
There had previously been uncertainty over when the legislation would take effect; a more detailed announcement is likely before Parliament breaks up for the summer on 22 July.
Managing agents, private landlords and even those taking in lodgers under the national ‘Rent-A-Room’ scheme will have to vet their tenants to ensure they are legally entitled to reside in the country; there will be fines running into thousands of pounds for those failing to undertake the necessary checks or failing to prevent illegal immigrants from renting.
Industry bodies including RICS and the NLA have voiced their opposition to the scheme, with some suggesting that the Government was wrong to ask landlords and agents to operate as an arm of the Border Control service.
A so-called ‘Impact Assessment’ statement issued by the Government claims that at the moment “housing is an important enabler of illegal migration” which is why agents and landlords will be required to check residency status from October onwards.
“The policy is also intended to tackle the exploitation of migrants by rogue landlords” claims the Government.