Warrington’s FDR Law is calling for landlords to ensure that their tenants have the correct immigration status to be able to rent a property in the UK – or risk a fine of up to £3,000 per tenant.
The Government has announced that from 1 February 2016 all private landlords in England must carry out checks to ensure that their tenants have the right to be in the UK. The new checks only apply to tenants renting a property on or after this date (unless your property is in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley or Wolverhampton, when you must make checks on your tenants if their tenancies started on or after 01 December 2014), and also apply to households who have a lodger, those sub-letting a property or agents appointed to carry out checks on a landlord’s behalf. If your tenant sub-lets without your knowledge, then it is their responsibility to carry out the checks.
David Jones, trainee solicitor at FDR Law, Warrington, says, “With the right to rent legislation just weeks away, landlords must ensure that they are fully aware of the new changes coming into force. Although the Home Office has produced some guidance about the new legislation, it remains the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the regulations have been complied with.”
Landlords who fall into any of the categories above will therefore need to:
- Check adult tenants live in the property as their only or main home.
- Ask tenants for the original documents that show that they have the right to be in the UK. These include a UK passport, EEA passport or identity card, permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain, a Home Office immigration status document, and a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.
- Check the documents are valid with the tenant present.
- Make and keep copies of the documents and record the date that you made the check.
- Ensure that a tenant's right to occupy the premises does not lapse. If your tenant’s right to stay in the UK is for a limited time, you should carry out a further check when their right is due to lapse or in any event, 12 months after the first check. If your tenant doesn’t pass a further check, and you find out that they can no longer legally rent property in England you must tell the Home Office. You could be fined if you don’t
- Establish if any children under 18 will become 18 during the course of the tenancy, and if so arrange for them to have right to rent checks at the relevant date.
- At the end of the tenancy, keep all documents for a further 12 months
- If you use a letting agent, do not assume they will carry out these checks for you. You should ask your agent whether they will be conducting these checks on your behalf as part of their service and check whether this is stated in your agreement with them.
If you need further advice on right to rent or any other aspect of landlord tenant law, please contact David Jones at FDR Law on 01925 230000