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|How landlords can navigate the new immigration bill|
|Monday, 12 October 2015|
Ahead of the second reading of the Immigration Bill in the House of Commons tomorrow, John Marsden, fraud and identity expert at Equifax, comments on help available to landlords to verify tenants’ identities: “The new immigration bill builds on the ‘right to rent’ pilot trialled in the West Midlands, which has resulted in several prosecutions to date. The legislation is clear and landlords need to be aware of the additional burden they would face as result of the new bill.
“In recent years the idea of becoming a private landlord has been very appealing as a form of investment. However the responsibilities that come with being a landlord will increase with changes in ‘right to rent’ legislation which require landlords to carry out extensive checks to ensure a tenant has British, EEA or Swiss nationality. If not, the landlord will need to inspect the relevant visa document or passport stamp to validate the right to rent. There is also an obligation to make sure the documents are genuine and to notify the home office if a tenant’s visa expires.
“Enforcement of penalties when landlords don’t meet their obligations is a deeply rooted government and policing priority and should not be taken lightly. Landlords need reassurance that letting agents and tenant referencing businesses have the systems in place to capture, validate and manage the process. Technology and data is empowering the specialist providers in this sector to ensure landlords are vigilant and help them to meet their legal responsibilities. Utilising technologies to verify documents and check the reputation of devices used by applicants are just two examples. Evidencing these checks can provide a distinct defence against a landlord’s exposure to legal actions.”
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