What Does Right to Rent Mean for UK Landlords?

From February 2016, if you want to rent a house, apartment or HMO in the UK, you will be asked to provide documentation such as a passport or VISA to prove that you are legally allowed to rent a property in the UK.

The new scheme will come into play from the 1st of February 2016 and will require rent checks to be carried out on all adult tenants on tenancy agreements in the UK. All existing tenancy agreements will not be affected.

New tenants may have to pay a small service fee and provide copies of relevant documentation such as passports and/ or VISAs to go through the new checks to prove that they are legally allowed to live in the UK.

This will come as an inconvenience for most private landlords, but for our investors, the process will be managed internally as part of our exclusive property management service.

UK Landlords will be required to do the following:

Check all adult tenants who are applying to rent will use the property as their main premises

Gather all the original documents required to proceed with the Right to Rent checks from all tenants.

Ensure the documents provided match the details of the tenants applying.

Make and keep copies of all documents and date them along with a date for when the Right to Rent checks were carried out.

This paperwork will need to be properly stored and organised for future reference. If the Boarder Control Agency requires you to provide such documentation regarding one or a number of your tenants you must have all the paperwork in place and dated.

The tenants will need to provide one of the following means of identification and proof that they are legally allowed to live and rent in the UK.

Proof of Right to Rent@2x Long

A passport (current or expired) showing that the holder is a British citizen or a citizen of the UK and Colonies having the ‘right of abode’ in the UK.

A passport or national identity card (current or expired) showing that the holder is a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

A registration certificate or document (current or expired) certifying or indicating permanent residence issued by the Home Office, to a national of the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

A ‘permanent’ residence, ‘indefinite leave to remain’, ‘indefinite leave to enter’ or ‘no time limit’ card issued by the Home Office (current or expired), to a non-EEA national who is a family member of an EEA or Swiss national.

A biometric ‘residence permit’ card (current or expired) issued by the Home Office to the holder indicating that the person named has ‘indefinite’ leave in the UK, or has ‘no time limit’ on their stay in the UK.

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A passport or other ‘travel document’ (current or expired) endorsed to show that the holder is either ‘exempt from immigration control’, has ‘indefinite’ leave in the UK, has the ‘right of abode’ in the UK, or has ‘no time limit’ on their stay in the UK.

An immigration status document (current or expired) containing a photograph issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement indicating that the named person has ‘indefinite’ leave in the UK or has ‘no time limit’ on their stay in the UK.

A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.

9. A current full or provisional photo-card UK driving licence.

There are a couple of other ways you can prove that you are legally allowed to live and rent in the UK and they can be found here: Right to Rent Evidence

For tenants who are using VISAs as proof to rent a property, further checks must be carried out to ensure the tenant has applied and been granted a new VISA or has obtained a legal right to live in the UK.

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The Right to Rent scheme applies to all of the following:

1. Private landlords

2. Anyone sub-letting a property or room.

3. Anyone who has a lodger

4. Estate agents or letting agents working on behalf of UK landlords.

Such checks must take place as of the 1st of February 2016 and if any of the above fail to carry out the required checks, or if a property is found to have allowed a tenant who is not legally allowed to rent property in the UK, post 1st February, a penalty of up to £3,000 per tenant will be issued. To avoid these fines landlords will have to check the immigration status of potential tenants.

To check the immigration status of a tenant please visit www.gov.uk/check-tenant-right-to-rent-documents and submit the relevant information the tenant has provided and you will be advised on what to do next.

Sources:

1. GOV UK - Check Tenant Right to Rent Documents
2. GOV UK - Right to Rent Landlords Code of Practice
3. Ferguson Snell - UK Immigration Update
4. Smith Stone Walters - Right to rent scheme


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