Agents will not have to report rejected tenants found to be illegal immigrants

Any agent or landlord who vets a prospective tenant and finds that they are an illegal immigrant does not have to report them – provided they do not allow that person to rent.

The wording of a sentence, which apparently highlights an absurdity, leaps out of a new Commons briefing paper on Right to Rent.

Right to Rent was rolled out across England on February 1.

It currently carries civil penalties, but the newer Immigration Bill plans to turn these into criminal penalties with stiff fines and possible jail for agents and landlords.

Right to Rent is a government flagship policy, meant to deter illegal immigrants.

However, it appears that illegal immigrants will be free to wander from one letting agent to another and from one landlord to another, without earlier checks being made known, or the Home Office aware – and with the risk that the illegal immigrant will sooner or later be offered accommodation.

The new briefing paper to MPs says: “With regards to new tenants, landlords are under no obligation to report an applicant with no Right to Rent to the Home Office, provided they do not allow them to occupy the property.”

While that sentence refers to landlords, the paper also makes clear that landlords can transfer their Right to Rent checks to agents, as long as it is done in writing.

The briefing paper also discusses the pilot Right to Rent scheme which took place in the west midlands.

The briefing paper notes: “14 of 55 letting agents had received complaints from landlords or potential tenants, most frequently mentioning discrimination and delayed tenancy starts due to checks. 52% of respondent landlords said they had concerns about the scheme.

“The majority of landlords and letting agents saw no benefit to the scheme.”

The new Immigration Bill 2015-2016, currently going through Parliament, creates four new offences aimed at targeting “those rogue landlords and agents who deliberately and repeatedly fail to comply with the Right to Rent scheme or fail to evict individuals who they know or have reasonable cause to believe are disqualified from renting as a result of their immigration status”.

Two of the new proposed offences are specific to letting agents and are:

  • A letting agent will commit an offence if they carry out Right to Rent checks for a landlord and know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that a landlord will be entering into a tenancy agreement with someone disqualified as a result of their immigration status and fails to tell the landlord despite having sufficient opportunity to do so.
  • A further offence will be committed where an agent carrying out right to rent checks for a landlord does not notify the landlord and Secretary of State when a tenant’s leave to remain in the UK expires during the course of the tenancy and they continue to occupy the premises with the agent’s knowledge or where the agent has reasonable cause to believe this has happened.

The new, and very thorough briefing paper, is here


  1. Mark Walker

    It’s almost like the Immigration Office duties are being privatised…

    Dislike(0)Like (6)
    1. Will

      Yes but our cost!!!

      Dislike(0)Like (4)
  2. Gump

    Is this for real? What an absolute joke this legislation is

    Dislike(0)Like (3)
  3. markbrev

    So let me get this straight. I don’t have to report an illegal immigrant to ANYONE for attempting to rent a house, but if I DO rent to an illegal immigrant, then I HAVE to report it to the Secretary of State. But renting to an illegal immigrant is now to be a criminal offence, so why would I then want to report it?

    Dislike(0)Like (8)
  4. Woodentop

    Over the last 15 years I have continued to see a growing trend in poor legislative practice as new laws are made. Clearly someone(s) in authority isn’t competent to perform their job in the civil service who actually put it all together. Ministers only sign it off before it goes to the Commons and House of Lords where after so much dabbling goes on they loose the plot. One day the country will wake up to the fact that it is the civil servants incompetence that make such a mess of everything and leave the MP as the fall guy (often justified).

    Dislike(0)Like (3)
  5. Ding Dong

    You can report them via this government link

    Dislike(0)Like (1)
    1. Traditionalist

      Good luck trying to do it through this link.  A rep from the Home Office at a recent NALS conference stated categorically that we were not able to report any individuals who dont pass right to rent checks, to the HO.

      Dislike(0)Like (0)
  6. NeilParmer

    Here is a useful link on Right to Rent:

    Neil Parmer

    Dislike(0)Like (0)

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