Landlords Beware- Right to Rent Checks Are Now in Force
From the1st February 2016, private residential landlords in England are under a legal obligation under The Immigration Act 2014 to conduct a right to rent check on prospective tenants and occupiers before they grant a new tenancy. This means they will have to check the immigration status of tenants and occupiers over the age of 18 to see if they are eligible to rent in the UK.
Who is illegible to rent in the UK?
Individuals will fall within one of three categories, depending on their immigration status:
- Unlimited right to rent – this includes British, EEA and Swiss nationals and those who have been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
- Time-limited right to rent – people who do not fall into the above category but have a valid leave to be in the UK for a limited period of time.
- No right to rent – where someone does not have permission to be in the UK, there is no right to rent.
Right to rent checks
A landlord will need to find out which adults are living at the Property as their only or main home and see the original acceptable documents for each of these adult occupiers. These documents will need to be checked in front of the individual and copies should be taken and kept noting the date the check was carried out.
The government website has codes of practice which landlords must follow. These are the ‘Code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation’ and the ‘Code of practice for landlords: avoiding unlawful discrimination when conducting ‘right to rent’ checks in the private rented residential sector.’
This sets out the various acceptable documents that can be checked and are set out in two lists. List A applies to those who have an unlimited right to rent and only one documentation is required from this list. List B applies to those who have a time-limited right to rent and two different documents from the list are required. Where documents from List B are provided, a landlord will need to conduct follow up checks. If an individual says that the documents are with the Home Office, the landlord must request verification of right to rent from the Home Office’s Landlords Checking Service using an online form.
A landlord is not required to do the above for tenancies which commenced before 1st February 2016 or which were renewed after 1st February 2016 if the renewed agreement is between the same parties and there has been no break in the tenant’s right to occupy the premises.
The fine for renting your property to someone who is not allowed to rent property in England is £3,000. Therefore it is important the required checks are carried out.