As you may be aware some new legislation came into effect on 14th November 2016. This legislation (The Immigration Act 2016) builds upon the previous Immigration Act (2014) to provide new measures as part of the government’s overall strategy to create a ‘hostile environment’ for those living unlawfully in the UK.
This legislation does effect tenancy agreements, specifically the ending or transferring of the tenancy agreement in the case of a tenant being in the UK unlawfully. This type of tenant is referred to as a ‘disqualified tenant’. If the tenant is disqualified, the landlord should receive written notice from the Secretary of State confirming that a tenant does not have the right to reside in the UK.
To put it simply, a landlord must act promptly if it is discovered that one or more of the tenants are living in the UK unlawfully to avoid being prosecuted themselves.
If all the tenants are disqualified the landlord must serve a minimum notice of 28 days. This notice will be treated as though it were a notice to quit and can be enforced as though it were a High Court order.
If not all of the tenants are disqualified, for example one tenant from a group of four has been found to be disqualified. In this case a landlord may seek possession of the entire property under Section 8 ground 7B. If the tenants do not leave, the landlord may seek a possession order from the court.
At this point, the court may order that the disqualified tenant’s interest is transferred to the remaining tenants.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme has produced a policy briefing on how this will affect deposit protection and dispute resolution. For more information, please view this ‘Tenancy Deposits and the Right to Rent’ briefing available from our website.
These changes currently only apply to England, however the Secretary of State can make regulations extending the changes to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.