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The Latest On Right To Rent
Important changes to the law with regards to the right to rent have come into place from 1st February this year. It is essential that landlords are up to date with their knowledge of the latest regulations, best practices and of course the law. In the case of ‘right to rent’ law you are liable for fines of up to £3000 per tenant if you fail to comply with this new check.What is it?‘Right to Rent’ was introduced in the Immigration Act of 2014 but has only been rolled out nationally since February 2016 so strict compliance is now the expected norm. All landlords are required to perform right to rent checks on every tenant and lodger in their property (over the age of 18) to ascertain their eligibility to reside in the UK. The basic idea behind the checks is to deter illegal immigrants from renting property in the UK until they have the proper documentation and right to remain in the country.What does the check involve?Many landlords will find that they have already been checking the necessary evidence as part of their normal tenancy agreements and routine checks but read on to make sure you are meeting all the new requirements. At the most basic level the check involves making copies of each prospective tenants documents that prove their right to reside in the UK. A tenant must have the ‘right to rent’ in the UK; meaning they are legally in the country and able to reside here.Who must be checked?Everyone. As a landlord you must check the identity and residency documents of every prospective tenant (over 18) and lodger before renting to them. Even if there is no tenancy agreement or they aren’t named on the tenancy agreement you must still perform the check. You must check every person no matter your own presumptions about their eligibility to be in the UK. It is against the law to only check those that you think aren’t British citizens.Acceptable documentationAcceptable documents include a passport showing British citizenship, a certificate of registration as a British citizen, a national ID card/passport showing the tenant is part of the European Economic Area or a Swiss national, a passport or travel document indicating the tenant has indefinite leave to remain in the UK. If a potential tenant has an outstanding immigration application or appeal with the Home Office, landlords can conduct a check on that person’s ‘right to rent’ via the Landlords Checking Service.Copying documentsYou must see hard copies of the original documents that prove the tenants right to rent. Check the documents are in date and the photograph looks like the prospective tenant. Check that the documents don’t look damaged or tampered with and if the names are different you must seek proof of name changes e.g. marriage certificate. If you are satisfied with the documentation make copies of them for your records. You must make complete copies including both sides of documents and record the date on which you make the copies.Nick Fox Property Mentoring are here to offer support and guidance for landlords so do contact us for help. Visit our home page here.