Equifax: Right to rent ‘vital’
The scheme, which is primarily designed to curb the free movement of illegal immigrants, is running on a trial basis in the West Midlands and requires landlords and letting agents to see evidence of a prospective tenants identity and citizenship before letting a property.
Marsden said: “The impending legislation regarding the Immigration Act 2014, reinforces the need to prove a ‘right to reside’, demonstrating how a residential address can unlock the benefits of citizenship.
“In the residential lettings sector, while the majority of tenants are genuine, the risk of fraud is heightened because fraudsters need addresses.
“Paying rent on a property – simply to have a legitimate address – is often seen simply as a short-term ‘cost of business’ for these individuals.”
As such Marsden said it is vital that landlords and letting agents can validate information relating to potential tenants to both adhere to the rules and approve tenancies quicker.
He said: “Landlords need to have the confidence to only sign up tenants that have passed robust identity verification checks, helping them to prevent potential fraud without any creating any delay in the rental process.”
Landlords and letting agents who fail to check tenants eligibility will face a £3,000 fine under the new rules.