Effective 1 February 2016, the Right to Rent check is now a legal responsibility that affects all landlords. But what does this involve, why do landlords have to do it and what happens if they don’t?
In this guide, we talk you through the process of the ‘Right to Rent’ check so you can avoid the penalties.
Why Do Landlords Need to Check a Prospective Tenant’s Right to Rent?
Introduced as part of the Immigration Act 2014 to impose a more effective and fairer way to control immigration, landlords became responsible for the process of checking whether a tenant has the right to rent in the UK.
The Immigration Act 2014 expanded on measures designed to deter illegal immigrants from being able to live and work in the UK but (controversially, for some) transferred the onus of detecting illegal renters to the landlord.
Who Needs to Perform a Right to Rent Check?
If you are operating as a private landlord, have a lodger or sub-let any property then you must perform a right to rent check. However, if you are employing an agent to manage the lease of your property then it is their responsibility to undertake this on your behalf; however, you should ensure that you see proof of this check.
If you are a tenant sub-letting a room then you will also need to ensure you have performed a right to rent check.
What Does a Right to Rent Check Involve?
To perform a right to rent check, you will need to see original documentation (copies should not be accepted) from each adult who will be residing in the property or room that you are letting. You should request to see:
- Proof of identity
- Proof of their right to be in the UK such as a permanent residence card, certificate of registration (or naturalisation) as a British Citizen. A UK passport is also evidence of legal status for residence as is an EEA passport of identity card. Some tenants may also hold documentation from the Home Office showing their immigration status. If this is presented then you may need to contact the Home Office to determine the validity of this status.
You should check the validity of the documents with the tenant present and make copies of each piece of evidence for your records.
Are There any Exemptions Applicable to the Right to Rent Scheme?
Yes. If the housing is organised by the local authority or falls into the following categories then it may be exempt from right to rent checks:
- Student housing
- Leases of 7 years or more
- Care homes
- Social housing
- Hostels and refuges
- Mobile homes
- Tied accommodation
What Happens If You Fail to Perform a Right to Rent Check?
Landlords who do not perform a right to rent check are liable for a fine of up to £3,000 with repeat offenders facing prosecution.
At Property Assistant, we can manage all aspects of your letting from marketing your property to finding the right tenant, arranging the lease to managing your tenancy. All of our letting solutions are tailor made to your budget and needs but we always dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s so you can be assured of getting the right advice.
For more information about our services, contact us on 0118 912 2370.
Featured image via Flickr.