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What does the new 'Right to Rent' Legislation entail?

Sep 8, 2016

As a landlord you now have the responsibility of checking that your potential tenant has the right to rent your property legally. This is to make sure that anyone who in living in the UK illegally will find it difficult to find somewhere to live. This new legislation, introduced earlier this year, forms part of the Immigration Act 2014 and carries penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant if you fail to carry out the correct checks.

But what do you need to do and how do you carry out these checks?

First and foremost, the new legislation says you must check all tenants over the age of 18. You will need to check everyone who will be living in the property even if they are not named on your tenancy agreement, you don’t have a tenancy agreement or it is a verbal agreement.

This means that you cannot just complete checks on people you don’t think are British citizens – you will have to check everyone you rent your property to.

You now know who to check, but how do you check their right to rent? Your first task is to check who will be living in your property. You’ll need to obtain original documents from each of these people to prove they have a right to live in the UK.

The documents that are acceptable to prove a right to rent are grouped into two sections. The first gives the holder an unlimited right to rent and include items such as a UK passport and a biometric residence permit with unlimited leave. There is a sub-section of documents in this group, which when produced together can result in an unlimited right to rent. These are items such as a full or provisional UK driving licence and a letter of attestation from an employer for example.

The second group of documents show a limited right to rent and these would be a passport with a limited stay stamp or a biometric immigration document outlining the limited time period.

This is a very important part of the right to rent process so you should get it right. There is a handy checklist on the Gov.UK website that may help.   Click on the link below to access a copy of the pdf:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/497242/Right_to_Rent_Document_Checks_-_a_User_Guide.pdf

You’ll need to take copies of the documents you’ve seen and make a record of the date you made the check.

The burden is on you, as a landlord, to make these checks and the penalties if you don’t are steep. This can be quite a complex thing to complete, using unfamiliar documents that you may never have seen before.

If you are in any doubt about making these checks and your responsibility, then you should call Julie Docherty, Partner, on 01264 325835, email: jdocherty@bsandi.co.uk  or contact us via our free, no obligation enquiry form, on our website.

 


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