As of 01 February 2016 it is the responsibility of landlords to check that a tenant has the right to be in the UK before allowing them to rent their property. Tenants who sub-let or take in lodgers will also need to abide by the law in order to avoid financial penalties of up to £3,000.
There are few exclusions to the types of property or tenancy agreement that require these checks and so the likelihood is that, if you are providing residential accommodation in England then you will need to perform these checks on tenancy agreements that start on or after 01 February 2016.
Details of tenant types excluded from right to rent checks:
Managing Agents & Subletting
If you are using the services of a managing agent to let your residential property then a quick conversation to ascertain who should be carrying out the checks may be worthwhile. If your agreements and paperwork are silent on the issue then ultimately the responsibility may rest with you, the landlord. It is possible to have your agent perform the checks on your behalf. This may carry additional cost and you will need to have something in writing to evidence the agreement in the event of a breach and subsequent fine.
Is that everything?
No……Once you have obtained all the necessary documentation from your prospective tenant, avoided claims of unlawful discrimination, analysed the identification documents using the guidance available from the governments “Right to rent document checks: a user guide” one of two things will happen.
- You will be satisfied that your prospective tenant has a right to rent. You must now take a copy of the relevant parts of the tenant’s documentation and keep them until 12 months after the end of the tenancy
- You will not be satisfied with the outcome of the checks and you must now report your findings to the Home Office or face the risk of a fine
The government have created an online guide to assist in checking whether a potential tenant has the right to rent:
They have also produced a Code of Practice guide for landlords