As of 1st December 2016, the Immigration Act 2014 will be amended by Sections 39 to 41 of the Immigration Act 2016. The provisions apply to private sector landlords and to social landlords. The provisions include a new criminal offence under Section 39 which will apply to landlords and agents who know, or have reasonable cause to know, that premises are being occupied by persons disqualified from occupying under residential tenancies as a result of their immigration status. The penalties include up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine. The criminal penalties will apply to all tenancies, no matter when they started. There will be a defence where reasonable steps have been taken to terminate a tenancy and draft guidance has been issued by the Home Office in relation to this, which can be found here.
Section 40 creates a new route for eviction where all occupiers of a property have no right to rent and the appropriate notice is served on the landlord by the Secretary of State. Landlords wanting to use this route will need to use the prescribed form of notice that can be found here.
Section 40 also inserts an implied term into certain types of tenancy (including secure & non-assured/non-secure tenancies) which allows the landlord to terminate the tenancy where premises are occupied by someone with no right to rent. This does not apply to assured tenancies (including assured shorthold tenancies).
Section 41 inserts new mandatory ground (Ground 7B) into the Housing Act 1988 which can be used by landlords where some or all occupiers have no right to rent. As a result, a new prescribed form of Section 8 Notice of Seeking Possession will come into force from 1st December 2016 which has been amended to include reference to the new mandatory Ground 7B. This new notice should be used by landlords seeking to evict tenants no matter what grounds are being relied on and can be found here.
For further information, please contact Nick Billingham, Alex Wyatt or Rebecca Brady.