Although Right to Rent checks have been around for a couple of years now as part of The Immigration Act 2014, surprisingly, they are still falling on deaf ears of some UK landlords.
Government statistics say that 11,300 Right to Rent checks are now undertaken daily, and although frowned upon by many when they were first launched back in December 2014, they are now viewed as being a positive line of attack against unscrupulous landlords who exploit tenants by renting out substandard or unsafe accommodation.
Put simply, if a tenant does not have the required international status in the UK, a tenancy agreement must not be offered. If a tenancy is offered without a right to rent check, a civil penalty of up to £3,000 can be imposed if a landlord is found to be renting out a property to someone who is in the UK illegally.
Right to Rent with limited time visas
Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to know when a tenant’s visa is coming up for renewal or even whether it is due to expire, as one of our landlords Gautam Nowlakha explains.
"As an owner of three rental properties, I consider myself to be a very responsible and law-abiding landlord, so when one of my tenant’s visas was coming to an end and they were stalling when I asked to see proof of their extension, I grew somewhat suspicious.
"Although I was in constant communication with my tenants, when I couldn’t get any further, the team at lettingaproperty.com stepped in to help out. Fortunately, the tenancy did come to an end and the property was relet very quickly by lettingaproperty.com.
What are the landlords responsibilities?
COVID-19 Update: There are temporary changes to Right to Rent checks. Read more here.
For the avoidance of doubt, landlords must:
- Check all adult tenants who will live in the property as their only or main home
- Ask tenants for the original documents that show they have the right to be in the UK
- Check the original documents with the tenant present and ensure they are valid
- Make and keep copies of the original documents and record the date the check was made
- Conduct follow up checks at the appropriate date if the initial check indicates a time-limited status
- Make a report to the Home Office if follow-up checks indicate that an occupier no longer has the Right to Rent
What documents are acceptable for Right to Rent checks?
Acceptable documents that a tenant can show their landlord include:
- A UK passport
- An EU/EEA passport or identity card, permanent residence card
- A travel document showing indefinite leave to remain
- A visa if applicable
- A Home Office immigration status document or a certificate of registration/naturalisation as a British citizen.
When should I carry out the Right to Rent checks?
For landlords using the lettingaproperty.com service to find a tenant, all tenants are asked to provide evidence of original documentation at time of arranging an appointment to view the property. They are to present this documentation to the landlord at the property.
This will assist in reducing any time wasted proceeding with an application where the tenant is not entitled to rent a property in the UK.
Where can I get help with Right to Rent checks?
More information about how to carry out the checks is available online at www.gov.uk including eligibility for a free online Home Office checking service to confirm whether someone has a right to rent.
If you would like to talk to a member of our lettings team about how we can help you with Right-to-Rent checks, landlord registration, mandatory and selective licensing, please get in touch.