From 1 February 2016 all private landlords in England will have to check that new tenants and any other adult occupiers have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property.
Right to Rent was introduced as part of the Government's Immigration Act 2014, to reform the immigration system. The new legislation means that landlords, including those who sublet or take in lodgers, must check the prospective tenant is in the UK legally before they can grant the residential tenancy agreement to them. Landlords who fail to process the checks in line with the legislation could face a penalty of up to £3,000 per occupant.
When processing the Right to Rent checks, landlords should check and make copies of all original identification documents for all adult occupiers who will live at the property as their only or main home.
Prospective occupants should produce original documentation from the ‘acceptable lists’ produced by the Home Office which include one of the following as evidence of their Right to Rent:
- UK passport
- European Economic Area passport or identity card
- Permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain
- Home Office immigration status document
- Certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen
Not only do Right to Rent checks have to be carried out prior to completing a tenancy agreement, but a follow-up Right to Rent check is also required where an occupier's right to be in the UK is time-limited. In these instances, if the tenant cannot show that they have renewed their right to reside in the UK the landlord must make a report to the Home Office to avoid being given a penalty.
Landlords can choose to pass responsibility for the Right to Rent checks to their lettings agents by written agreement.
This new legislation is further evidence of increasing legislation in the private rented sector, and the need for landlords to use a reputable lettings agent to handle the letting of their property.
For more information and advice on letting your property, contact Savills Lettings.