Right to Rent checks
Many landlords are still not aware that they have a legal obligation to check their tenants right to rent in England.
Right to Rent checks command landlords or their agents to check the ID and immigration status of the prospective tenants (adults) prior to the commencement of a tenancy. This legislation came into force on 1st February 2016 and two years on some landlords still seem to be oblivious to this. Landlords must check that a tenant or lodger can legally rent your residential property in England.
Prior to commencing into a tenancy, landlords must check all tenants aged 18 and over, even if they’re not named on the tenancy agreement, there’s no tenancy agreement or the tenancy agreement isn’t in writing. Please note, it is against the law to only check people you think aren’t British citizens.
If the tenant is only allowed to stay in the UK for a limited time, you need to do the check in the 28 days prior to the commencement of the tenancy.
The Right to Rent check does not apply to accommodations such as social housing, care homes, hospice or hospital, a hostel or refuge, a mobile home or student accommodation.
Properties that are provided by the local authority, provided as part of a job (tied accommodation) or where a lease is 7 years or over are also not affected by the Right to Rent checks.
There are 5 steps that you need to take to make sure you’ve checked the tenants Right to Rent correctly:
1. Check all adults ID who will use the property as their main home
2. You must check the original documents that prove they can reside in the UK
3. Check the documents to see if they have the right to rent your property.
4. Check that the documents are genuine and belong to them, with the tenant(s) present.
5. Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check.
When you make copies of such documents, you must ensure that they cannot be edited and are of good quality. You must copy every page of passports with the expiry date or applicant’s details (such as nationality, date of birth and photograph), including endorsements. For example, a work visa or Certificate of Entitlement to the right of abode in the UK. If they have a biometric residence permits then you must make copies of both sides. Once you’ve done this you will need to record the date you made the copies and store them for 1 year in a safe place.
You can check a guide provided by the Home Office to see if you fall under this requirement. Please click here to read the guide.
Landlords who fail to carry out the Right to Rent checks could see themselves with a fine of up to £3,000 and even a prison sentence as you could be housing an illegal immigrant.
If you are not sure of anything regarding the Right to Rent checks, please contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.
This article does not provide any legal advice. Please contact your solicitor for any legal advice or call the Home Office Landlord Helpline for more information on 0300 069 9799.