Right to Rent rules spark rise in forged documents

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Following the February 2016 introduction of the “Right to Rent” rules, aimed at preventing unscrupulous landlords from housing illegal immigrants, there has been a reported rise in the number of forged or modified passports used to gain housing.  Under the current rules, to have a “statutory excuse” landlords must see a tenant’s original documents, check the documents with the tenant present, and keep copies of the document on file with a record of the date that checks were carried out.

However, a lack of the knowledge or experience required to check such documents by landlords means that black market demand for forged passports has increased, fuelled by the awareness that copies do not need to be perfect to pass such scrutiny.  It has been claimed that gangs could sell between six and ten fake passports or residence permits – complete with non-working replica biometric chips, every week.

These documents, whilst not necessarily of sufficient quality to pass customs, have the potential to be used when applying for jobs, and therefore it is crucial that recruiters remain vigilant and ensure that checks are conducted by appropriately trained staff to prevent potentially illegal workers from being employed.