Right to rent resources
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The Immigration Act 2014 introduced the concept of 'right to rent' to the private rented sector in England. This requires landlords and agents to check the immigration status of their prospective occupiers at the outset of the tenancy.
Originally, failure to comply could lead to a fine, however as of 1 December 2016, the Government introduced additional penalties and offences relating to right to rent. Landlords now face potential imprisonment for failure to check the occupier's right to rent status, so it is even more important it is done correctly every time.
This page contains a number of resources to help landlords ensure they are meeting their legal obligations to ensure they do not fall foul of the right to rent legislation. It provides guidance on how to check prospective tenants, how right to rent has changed during the coronavirus pandemic, what to do if your tenant does not have evidence they can rent a property and a number of downloadable resources to use to record this.
What is 'right to rent?'
Right to rent means simply that the occupier has a right to rent a property in the UK. This right can either be granted permanently or it may only last for a specific period of time. Anyone without it is disqualified from renting and cannot be permitted to occupy your property.
What are the requirements?
Landlords must not authorise an adult to occupy a property as their only or main home unless they can establish the adult has a right to reside in the UK. This means landlords are now required to check the identification of everyone who is over 18 and expected to occupy the property.
As of 1 December 2016, a new offence has been created that landlords and agents need to be mindful of. Landlords and letting agents who become aware, or should be aware, that their occupiers have no 'right to rent' are guilty of the offence of letting to a disqualified person.
This offence is triggered when the landlord or agent receives a notice from the Home Office informing them that their occupier is disqualified. This captures all landlords, even those that did their right to rent checks correctly. However, for landlords who have performed their right to rent checks properly, there is a statutory defence if they are taking reasonable steps to remove the occupier from the property and have performed the right to rent checks on time.