Initial Right to Rent Rules were rolled out on 1st of February 2016 across England, with plans next year to expand this right across all of the UK.

The Home Office announced on the 2nd of November that as of December the 1st it will be a criminal offence as a landlord or letting agent to knowingly rent to people without the right to remain in the UK.

The main updates of the Right-to-Rent rules are:

  • Landlords may be charged with a criminal offence if they know, or have reasonable cause to believe, that they are letting to an illegal migrant.
  • Landlords can end tenancies for occupants with no right to rent.

At Letslivehere as part of our Let Only and Full Management services we ensure we accurately perform all Right to Rent checks and all potential tenants are fully vetted before tenancy agreements are signed.

What is Right to Rent?

  • Landlords or Agent must routinely take I.D before letting a property to ensure the occupier has the legal right to live in the UK before the start of the tenancy
  • Must conduct checks on all adult occupiers – not just those named on the tenancy
  • The check must be made with the document and physical person present, this is a legal requirement
  • Retain records for 12 months from end of tenancy
  • If the following checks are not made landlords can civil penalties of up to £3000 per illegal occupiers

How to conduct checks:

  • Establish who will live in the property
  • Obtain original versions of acceptable documents
  • Check the documents in the presence of the holder
  • Make a copy and retain with a record of the date that the check was conducted
  • Retain copies of documents for 12 months after the end of the tenancy

What is acceptable evidence?

Permanent right to stay in the UK:

  • Current or expired British Passports
  • Current or expired passports or national identity card showing the holder is a national of EEA or Switzerland
  • A combination of 2 documents: UK birth cert or driving licence or letter from a UK police force confirming the holder has been a victim of crime and ID has been stolen.

Limited time to stay in the UK:

  • Visa: Check the Residence Permit Visa which will either be as a card or a stamp/page within their passport. You must check and take copies of the identity page as well as the visa. Check the date the visa expires, as if necessary you must perform a follow up check at the end of the expiry. As long as there is one day after the start of the tenancy on the visa, you have the right to let to the person. You must perform follow up checks 12 months after initial check.

Checks must be done before you grant the tenancy – this is before you sign the contract with the tenancy, not when you hand over keys or tenants move in.
If you don’t check you’ll be liable to the full penalty. If you discover a tenant no longer has the right to remain in the UK, you must report to the Home Office.

When to request a Home Office check if:

  • The occupier has a current application or appeal with the Home Office – e.g. extending visas.

You must request a Home Office reference number from the potential occupier, then you will receive a response within 48 hours. For further assistant call the Immigration Act helpline on:0300 069 9799.

Need more guidance? Speak to us, we are always up to date with new legislation and regulations.