Landlords in the UK are not familiar with the planned new immigration checks that they will be required to undertake - and those who are already doing them are not happy, according to research.
A pilot scheme for the new immigration checks has begun in the West Midlands where landlords are now compelled to check the immigration status of any tenant wanting to rent their property.
From next year, all landlords in the UK will be required to check the immigration status of their tenants before a tenancy agreement can be signed.
More information on immigration checks needed
However, a new study by PropertyLetByUs, an online letting agent, has found that nine out of 10 landlords questioned admitted they did not understand the immigration checks.
The same proportion of respondents also said that the new rules placed too much responsibility on them.
The firm's managing director, Jane Morris, said: “Landlords are not comfortable with the immigration legislation and will rely on reference firms and letting agents to help them comply with the new rules.
“Hopefully the pilot will iron out many issues so that when this scheme is rolled out in 2015 landlords will feel comfortable of what is required of them.”
Landlords face fine for not checking immigration status
PropertyLetByUs is also warning landlords that non-compliance with the legislation could leave them facing a £3,000 fine.
From next year, all landlords will need to see evidence of an immigrant’s residential status, whether it's a biometric residence permit or passport, or any approved form of identification.
By doing so, a landlord is checking that the tenant has a 'right to rent' before they sign a new tenancy agreement.
The same research also revealed that 100% of landlords who were questioned said they intended to rely solely on their letting agent or the reference agency to conduct the checks.
Another 93% of landlords said they simply did not feel confident enough to carry out the required checks of immigrants themselves.
The survey also showed that around one in four landlords believes that the new immigration checks will lead to a big rise in rogue landlords renting out 'beds in sheds'.
In turn, the new rules will make it more difficult for an immigrant to find a rental property and that 10% of landlords say this will lead to homelessness for some.
Landlords warned over bogus gas fitters
Meanwhile, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning landlords to be aware of a worrying rise in the number of bogus gas engineers and plumbers who are issuing safety compliance certificates.
The warning comes after the HSE recently prosecuted several firms and contractors for shoddy work which left tenants lives in serious danger at their buy to let properties.
The HSE says that all landlords should check with the Gas Safe register that the plumber or gas engineer is qualified to undertake any necessary work, particularly annual gas safety checks.
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