What is right to rent? The Immigration Act 2014 introduced the tenant right to rental rules in England. Landlords, and anyone subletting, must now perform basic document checks on new adult tenants.
TENANT RIGHT TO RENT SCHEME UK: Landlords need to check the legitimacy of their tenant or lodger.
You must determine their eligibility for renting a property or a room at your residential property in England.
That means verifying whether there are any people aged 18 and over living in your rental property.
A Home Office press release announced a new ruling enforcement from February 1st 2016. The new regulations apply to all residing adults living in rental properties.
All landlords must check whether your tenant or lodger has the legal right to rent your residential property in England.
The new tenant right to rent rules mean your checks must happen before the start of any new tenancy. You must verify the legitimacy of all tenants who are 18 years and over, even if:
What happens if the tenant can stay in the United Kingdom for a limited time? In that case you need to perform the right to rental check in the period of 28 days before the start of the tenancy.
But, you do not need to check tenants living in some types of accommodation. Typical examples can include most care homes and social housing accommodation. Check the code of practice on excluded agreements for further information.
Note: Landlords should check all new tenants no matter what their nationality. It is against the law to check only the people you think do not have British citizenship.
Note: More guidance for landlords explains how to conduct right to rent checks for undocumented commonwealth citizens. There are severe penalties for illegal renting to a person who is not allowed to rent property in England.
A rented property would usually get accepted as a tenant's only home, or main home, if:
While your tenant is present you need to check:
You must see their original documents before they start living at the property. This is a priority if your tenant is arranging their rental tenancy from overseas.
In this case you must use the government landlord checking service. That enables you to check whether the tenant can rent without the right documents if:
The Home Office will give you an answer within two working days. Remember you need the Home Office reference number of the tenant to use the landlord checking service.
Note: Use caution when renting a property to someone in England. Do not rent out if they cannot give you the right documents and the landlord checking service informs you they cannot rent.
You can call the landlord's helpline to get help with a tenant right to rent immigration investigation.
Landlord's Helpline UK
Telephone: 0300 069 9799
Monday to Thursday: 9am to 4:45pm
Friday: 9am to 4:30pm
Note: You must follow the landlord code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation.
When you make a copy of the tenant documents you should:
You must keep these copies of tenant documents all the time they remain your tenant. You should also hold on to them for at least one year after they leave. Be sure you are following all UK data protection laws.
In this case you must use the government landlord checking service. That enables you to determine whether the tenant has the legal right to rent property in the UK.
There are situations where landlords must perform a follow-up check. The right to rent checklist ensures the tenant can still rent property in the UK. This happens most when there is a time limit on their permission to stay in the country.
Landlords or agents should do the follow-up check before the date that is the furthest away out of:
Note: There is no need for a follow-up check if your tenant's permission to stay has no time limit. But you can get fined if you fail to do a follow-up check and your tenant's legal permission to stay expires.
What happens if you determine your tenant no longer has the legal right to rent property in England? Landlords and agents must inform the Home Office after finding this out on a follow-up check.
If you do not report a tenant failure after a follow-up check you can get fined or up to 5 years in prison.
Some landlords use an agent to manage or let their property. In this case you can ask the agent to carry out the tenant right to rental check for you. But, as the landlord of the property, you should have this type of agreement in writing.
What happens if your tenant sub-lets the property without you knowing? In this case the responsibilities for checking rest with your legal tenant. They are responsible for carrying out the immigration checks on any sub-tenants.
People who sub-let are liable for civil penalties if they fail to do the proper right to rent check.
Check Your Tenant's Right to Rent and Immigration Documents for United Kingdom