Screening rules for illegal immigrants extend to Wiltshire

By Anita Jaynes on 30 November, 2015

New rules on screening tenants are to be extended to Wiltshire from next year, landlords are being warned.

Tenant Screening, which provides a vetting service to landlords and letting agents across the country and is based in Swindon, says the Right to Rent scheme, which has been piloted in the West Midlands, is being extended across the country from February.

Under the scheme, landlords and letting agents face hefty fines if they rent a property to illegal immigrants without first making proper checks. Tenants who sub-let are also affected.

The aim of the scheme is to clamp down on illegal immigrants living in private rental property. Similar to the Government’s Right to Work legislation, the rules ensure those who rent have a right to be in the country.

During the first six months of the pilot, 109 people who were in Britain illegally were identified as a result of the compulsory checks on new tenants

Kelvin McCarthy, Screening Manager at Tenant Screening, said: “When the pilot was brought in, we were confident that it would only be a matter of time before it was rolled out nationwide, so it is no surprise to hear the Government is doing so from 1st February next year.

“The onus is on the landlord to carry out certain checks on prospective tenants to see if they have a right to rent in this country. If they don’t, and a property is rented out, landlords could face a fine of up to £3,000 per tenant found to be living illegally.”

Tenant Screening, based in Wiltshire, offers landlords and letting agents across the UK a screening service for potential tenants. Kelvin and his team can make a number of checks on would-be tenants ranging from credit checks, residency and ID verification, to employment and landlord referencing, as well as identifying court or insolvency information held against the prospective tenant.

“It is very important to make comprehensive checks on potential tenants, not just because of the Right to Rent scheme,” said Kelvin. “Checks such as references, and credit checks will give landlords peace of mind.”

Tenant Screening has created a help guide designed to answer common questions landlords have regarding the Right to Rent scheme; the guide also includes details on which documents can be accepted along with a list of useful additional resources. The guide can be downloaded by visiting www.tenantscreening.co.uk

Pictured above: Kelvin McCarthy, Screening Manager at Tenant Screening