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Legal opinion by Adrian Berry on new immigration ‘right to rent’ landlord civil penalties


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Interesting legal opinion by my colleague Adrian Berry for the Association of Charitable Foundations on the ‘right to rent’ landlord civil penalties introduced by the Immigration Act 2014. Adrian does some myth busting on the meaning of “no recourse to public funds” and goes on to argue that the landlord civil penalties will not apply to the funders of any accommodation, that if no rent is payable by the recipient of the accommodation then it also falls outside the scheme (because no tenancy will then exist), that the provision of short term accommodation may not fall within the scheme (because then it would not be for residential use) and that hostels managed by a voluntary organisation or charity on a not for profit basis are excluded from the scheme in any event.

Adrian points out that the scheme applies to occupiers as well as tenants.

How landlords are supposed to keep track of this is beyond me. The recent JCWI research suggests that in reality landlords are not interested in doing so. They would rather avoid the problem altogether by not renting to tenants who might be foreign, such as those with foreign-sounding names or who are from an ethnic minority, or both. The JCWI report makes depressing but predictable reading. We have been predicting on this blog that the landlord immigration checks will lead to discrimination, the research conducted into the West Midlands pilot suggests this is happening in real life and yet the Government still intend to roll out the scheme nationally.

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Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.