FCC Paragon, a tenant referencing service, has released concerning data which suggests that landlords and letting agents will have their hands full when the right to rent regulations come into force on 1 February 2016.
According to their statistics, nearly a fifth (17.6%) of all references submitted to them over the last 12 months were foreign nationals. Almost two-thirds (64.79%) of these were applications from within the EU and/or EEA member states.
A total of 164 countries were represented over that period, of which 5% had appeared less than 50 times in references carried out by them.
The Right to Rent regulations will make it the responsibility of all agents and landlords to check identity documents for all new tenants to ensure they have the right to live in the UK before renting out their property.
The penalties for not complying with the rules could be severe, with fines of up to £3,000 per tenant. However, the Immigration Bill 2015-2016, which is currently before parliament, goes further, proposing criminal sanctions â€“ including prison â€“ for those that breach the rules.
The Home Office claims that the process will be straightforward, but some are sceptical. It has been argued that the range of documents coupled with a lack of experience could lead to unintentional errors, which could result in tough financial repercussions.