Understanding the “Right To Rent” – A Landlord’s Guide to the Immigration Act 2014

From today new legislation comes into effect requiring estate agents to carry out visa checks for their tenants and any adult occupiers of a property.  The Right to Rent checks are a statutory requirement under the immigration act 2014 (b) and this responsibility falls on the landlord.

The legislation requires landlords and/or agents acting on behalf of landlords, to verify the status of each occupier of any property that has been rented on or after 1st February 2016.

The Landlords’ Guide to Checking Immigration Documents, published by the Home Office provides four primary rules to follow:

  1. Check adult tenant(s) will live in the property as their only or main home
  2. Ask tenant(s) for the original document(s) that show they have the right to be in the UK
  3. Check the documents are valid with the tenant present
  4. Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check

This document also provides the various acceptable forms of identification; from List A there are 8, Group One, documents that will be acceptable on their own OR 13, Group Two, documents where a combination of any two documents can be used. List B gives a further 5 which are timeline based.  All in all, there are around 400 different combinations of acceptable documentation that occupiers can provide in order to comply with these checks.

It is really important for a landlord who has a Let Only service from their agent to get clarification of any further checks that may be necessary (i.e. if a visa or any timeline document, runs out during the tenancy etc.) that they are responsible for once the tenancy has started.

If you are using an agent, please check that they are providing this service and if not, it is your responsibility as a landlord to carry out these checks. The penalty for failing to carry out these mandatory checks are up to £3000 per occupier per tenancy.

Please use this link to get direct access to the government website for full clarification:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-rent-landlords-code-of-practice​

Right to Rent checks have been implemented in to our Application Forms; what this means is each applicant will need to confirm which forms of Identification they will be supplying us with.  Once we have checked the originals, we will document the date seen and be issued with a certificate of compliance by our referencing company; this will be included in the final referencing report.  For properties where we are letting on a Tenant Find and Managed basis, we will ensure these checks are carried out and will confirm to the Landlord if further checks will be required throughout the tenancy.

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