In mid-August 2014, the Home Office published a factsheet which provides some, but not full, updates on the proposed checks. At the time at which the factsheet was published, the proposed timescales for the landlord checks were as follows:
- The checks will initially apply in a single location in the UK, which will be announced in autumn 2014
- In autumn 2014, the Home Office will also endeavour to publish a draft codes of practice and guidance. It should begin providing online resources, a telephone helpline, and a case-checking service for more complex cases – all of which are intended to help landlords conduct checks
- The checks may become mandatory for all UK landlords in 2015
As previously proposed in the consultation and Immigration Bill-related documents, the right to rent checks will apply to only new tenancy agreements. Therefore, existing tenancy agreements will be unaffected and landlords will not be required to carry out retrospective checks.
Further, some housing will be exempt from the checks, including homelessness hostels, refuges, and some student accommodation. For full details on the residential properties which are to be excluded from the landlord checks, please refer to Schedule 3 of the Act.
Employers, who arrange accommodation for their staff, including non-settled migrant workers and their families, will need to ensure they are fully compliant with the new regime once it comes into force.
Additionally, landlords and estate/letting agencies need to start putting into place proper systems to undertake such checks. They can begin preparing themselves by reviewing the checks already required by employers in relation to the prevention of illegal working.