Posted by Caroline Preist, Partner
Private landlords – are you ready for the Right to Rent?
As of 1 February 2016, private landlords must check the right of prospective tenants to be in the country before a tenancy is offered. If a prospective tenant does not have the right to be in the UK and a tenancy is offered to them, the landlord could face a hefty £3,000 fine.
‘Right to Rent’ relates to a person’s immigration status and whether this entitles them to rent in the UK. The scheme is designed to deter those without the right to live, work or study in the UK from staying here indefinitely.
What are a landlord’s obligations before granting any new tenancy?
- Check that all tenants over 18 have documents showing their right to be in the UK
- Check that all tenants over 18 will live in the property as their only or main home
- Check the original documents with the tenant present and ensure they are valid
- If the person’s right to be in the UK will expire during the tenancy you need to make follow up checks either when the Right to Rent expires or after 12 months, whichever is later
- Retain copies of the original documents and record the date the check was made and the date of any follow up checks
- If follow up checks indicate that a tenant no longer has the Right to Rent report this to the Home Office
- There is no need to carry out the checks on existing tenants
What documents are acceptable?
- A UK passport
- An EU/EEA passport or identity card, permanent residence card
- A Visa (if applicable)
- A travel document showing indefinite leave to remain in the UK
- A Home Office immigration status document or a certificate of registration/naturalisation as a British citizen
Where can I get guidance on the process?
The government has an online checking tool for landlords to assist them through the process and also to request a check on anyone who has an outstanding case with the Home Office, this is available at: https://www.gov.uk/landlord-immigration-check
A code of practice has also been published to aid landlords in understanding their obligations under the scheme, this can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-rent-landlords-code-of-practice
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