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Right to Rent will be extended across England- 1st February 2016- EMPO Messenger (Oct 2015)

Article by Giles Inman on Oct 22, 2015 View in browser

Right to Rent will be extended across England- 1st February 2016- EMPO Messenger (Oct 2015)

This week the Home Office published its evaluation of the Right to Rent pilot scheme. Right to Rent is one part of the government’s ongoing reforms to the immigration system to make it harder for people to live in the UK illegally.

In the first six months of the West Midlands Right to Rent pilot scheme, 109 illegal immigrants were detected. Five civil penalty notices were issued to landlords or agents. Under the new 2015 Immigration Act, these penalties become criminal sanctions.

Just nine illegal immigrants had been removed from the UK, with a further five pending removal. Another nine had been ordered to report to Immigration Enforcement, but had failed to do so.

From 1st February 2016, it will be a legal requirement for landlords or their agents across England to check the immigration status of tenants. This means all private landlords, or their agents, in England, including those subletting or taking in lodgers, will have to check new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property.

Anyone who rents out private property in England will need to conduct Right to Rent checks on their adult tenants. This will involve making copies of evidence such as a passport or a biometric residence permit. In most cases, checks can be carried out without contacting the Home Office. However, if a tenant has an outstanding immigration application or appeal with the Home Office, landlords can request a Home Office Right to Rent check. A yes or no answer will be provided within two working days. Those who don’t make the checks could face a civil penalty of up to £3,000 per tenant if they are found to be renting out a property to someone who is in the UK illegally.

The Government is also making it easier for landlords to evict illegal migrants as part of the Immigration Bill.

The evalution report on the pilot scheme in the West Midlands can be viewed here

Welcome to the following new EMPO members- Sept 2015

Mrs Bown, Mr Sugarman, Jason Faulkner, Barbara Shaw, Umbrin Afzal

Rent Arrears rising

The number of tenants in serious rent arrears has risen to the highest level for two years. The claim comes from Your Move and Reeds Rains. They estimate that there are now 74,000 tenants owing more than two month’s rent, as of the end of the second quarter of this year.

If correct, it means 5,000 more households are in significant arrears than a year ago.

Government urged to confirm ECO replacement

The Chartered Institute of Housing has warned the expiration of the Energy Company Obligation in 2017 could leave households in fuel poverty unless the government sorts out its retrofitting subsidy policy within six months.

A joint report launched by Orbit Group and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) said it was “crucial” to resolve what will happen after the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme runs out tin 2017. No decision has been taken on whether the scheme, which subsidises energy efficiency installations, will be replaced.

The report said government targets on fuel poverty, cold homes and winter deaths were in danger of being missed due to the “continuing uncertainty”. It called for a five-year energy efficiency investment program to be confirmed by April 2016.

 “A partnership approach to tackling the critical and growing issue of fuel poverty is essential.”

The number of installations through ECO has dropped dramatically since its inception. In June 2014, there were 44,797 compared to 26,193 in June 2015.

The Housing & Planning Bill 2015

The Housing Bill was published this week and includes further measures intended to tackle rogue landlords and letting agents.

‘Highlights’ include: banning orders for rogue landlords and letting agents; a database of rogue landlords and letting agents; extension of rent repayment orders; greater data sharing (eg councils can access tenancy deposit scheme info); civil penalty scheme; a tougher fit and proper person test; and new abandonment process.  It also makes clear that councils can use data collected for council tax registration for enforcement purposes. To find out more click HERE

EMPO Christmas Meal 2015

EMPO’s Christmas meal will be taking place on Thursday 17th December 2015. Click HERE  to find out more.

 Responding to the Refugee Crisis in Housing – Landlords Guide

EMPO has been contacted by a Nottingham Housing Charity who is gearing up to help families coming to Nottingham from civil war in Syria as well as Iraq, Afganistan and Eritrea. But whilst it is unclear how many people will come and the size of the families to be housed, the Charity is also looking for accommodation that will help to house the people already here and in need.

The Charity is looking for BMR family and HMO properties across Nottingham where they are prepared to sign fully managed leases for up to 5 years

Please contact Giles at the office if you would like further information on this opportunity