On 1 December 2016 the Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/1118) came into force. An effect of these regulations is to add a new Ground to prescribed forms of notice for seeking possession under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. This Ground is known as Ground 7B and was introduced by the Immigration Act 2016 to make it easier for landlords to evict illegal immigrant tenants of properties in England.

Ground 7B is a mandatory ground, meaning the court must grant an order for possession if the landlord can demonstrate the ground; it has a minimum notice period of two weeks. This is on the provision that both of the following conditions are met:

- the Secretary of State has given written notice to the landlord that one or more of the adult occupiers of the dwelling-house are a person or persons disqualified from occupying the dwelling-house under the tenancy as a result of their immigration status; and

- the person or persons named in the notice are both of the following:

  • the tenant or, in the case of joint tenants, one or more of them, or are one or more other adult occupiers of the dwelling house; and
  • disqualified as a result of their immigration status from occupying the dwelling house under the tenancy.

If your tenant is not a relevant national and they do not have a right to rent in relation to the dwelling-house (i.e. the person requires leave to enter or remain in the UK but does not have it) then for the purposes of this Ground, they will be disqualified as a result of their immigration status from occupying the dwelling-house. However, it is important to bear in mind that the Secretary of State has the power to grant permission for the purposes of this Ground, giving a person a right to rent and therefore occupy a dwelling-house under an assured tenancy.

Important Points to Note: - A landlord is able to rely on Ground 7B during the fixed term of an assured tenancy, this includes assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs)

- There is no need for the terms of the tenancy to make provision for the tenancy to be brought to an end on Ground 7B in order for the landlord to be able to rely on it

- Where there were joint tenants, and one or more is/are not disqualified as a result of their immigration status, and no other Ground in Schedule 2 to the HA 1988 is established, a Court can order that an assured tenancy is transferred in to their name, instead of making an order for possession