Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire today announced the new measures in the Immigration Act would be launched in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton as part of a phased introduction across the country.
The new law will mean private landlords will have to check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country if they want to avoid potentially being fined up to 3,000.
Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said:
We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who abuse the system or flout the law.
The right to rent checks are quick and simple, but will make it more difficult for immigration offenders to stay in the country when they have no right to be here.
They will also act as a new line of attack against unscrupulous landlords who exploit people by renting out substandard, overcrowded and unsafe accommodation.
Landlords in the West Midlands will have all the advice and support they need in advance of the checks going live on 1 December.
Landlords will need to see evidence of a persons identity and citizenship, for example a passport or biometric residence permit. Many responsible landlords already do this as a matter of routine, and most legal renters will have the correct documentation ready to hand. In most cases landlords will be able carry out these simple checks without need to contact the Home Office.
Copies of the documentation will need to be taken as evidence the checks have been carried out and retained for one year after the tenancy ends. Children under 18 will not need to be checked. More information about how to carry out a right to rent check is available online at www.Gov.uk including eligibility for a free online Home Office checking service to confirm whether someone has a right to rent. A helpline (0300 069 9799) is also available.
Following an evaluation of the implementation in the West Midlands next spring, the Home Office expects to continue with the phased introduction of checks across the UK next year.
The Immigration Act 2014, which became law earlier this year, is a landmark piece of legislation which builds on the governments ongoing reforms to make sure the immigration system works in the national interest. The Act is focused on stopping illegal migrants using public services to which they are not entitled, reducing the pull factors which encourage people to come to the UK for the wrong reasons, and making it easier for the Home Office to remove people who should not be here.