Right to rent resources
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Last updated 24 November 2023 - new draft code of practice
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 guidance 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 the various ways to check prospective tenants, who should be checked, how often checks should be performed, and what to do if your tenant does not have evidence they can rent a property.
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 allow 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. However, provided you performed the right to rent checks properly and take reasonable steps to remove a disqualified tenant from the property then you will have a statutory defence from prosecution.
New draft code of practice
The Government regularly updates its code of practice for landlords as regulations or practices change. This sets out various information including:
- how to perform a right to rent check;
- which occupants needs to be checked;
- how to avoid discriminating when performing a right to rent check; and
- the penalties that can be charged.
The latest version is currently available in draft form and will apply from January 22nd 2024. The draft version sets out new, higher penalties for failing to comply with the right to rent requirements.