The question most commonly asked about the Immigration Act at the moment is “When will the scheme roll out to my area?”
We are currently part way through the pilot scheme which started on 1st December 2014 and affects landlords and letting agents for residential properties in parts of the West Midlands. Evaluation incorporating evidence from a range of participants and stakeholders, including focus groups, pulse checks and mystery shopping, is contributing to the evaluation of the pilot scheme which will run through to May 2015.
The message from the Home Office throughout the Landlord Scheme Stakeholder panel process has been that an honest and comprehensive evaluation process is essential to understanding both the impact of the scheme on tenants, landlords and agents and the effectiveness in meeting the aim of preventing illegal immigrants from being able to live and move around freely. For this reason we don’t yet know what the plans for further roll out will be. Alongside the results of the evaluation, those of May’s election may have an impact and although there is speculation it remains to be seen whether further roll out would be phased or national.
Despite this it remains essential that agents establish processes to make reasonable ID checks on all tenants and are prepared to extend these checks to all adult occupiers. Establishing routine checks ensures that tenants do not suffer discrimination and that your practices offer greater service to your clients and better security for property, than rogue and criminal agents.
ARLA continues to work with the Home Office team headed by James Brokenshire MP and Lord Best OBE, and all of the feedback that we receive from members informs the development and rollout.
For more information see the guidance notes available to download on the Governments website here ...