Landlords in West Midlands will be the first to face a fine of up to £3,000 if they rent homes to illegal immigrants.
The new measure in the Immigration Act is being launched in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton as part of a phased introduction across the country, Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said.
The new law gives private landlords the right to check if their prospective tenants are in the country legally.
Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said: “The right to rent checks are quick and simple, but will make it more difficult for immigration offenders to stay in the country when they have no right to be here.”
The minister said the new rule “will also act as a new line of attack against unscrupulous landlords who exploit people by renting out substandard, overcrowded and unsafe accommodation.”
The checks will go live on 1st December 2014. Mr Brokenshire said landlords in the West Midlands will have all the advice and support they need before then.
Landlords will need to see evidence of a person’s identity and citizenship, for example a passport or biometric residence permit.
Home Office believes that in most cases landlords will be able carry out the checks without need to contact them.
Landlords will be required to retain for one year after the tenancy ends, copies of the documentation. Children under 18 will not need to be checked.